25 Oct 2007
The growing use of 3D imaging in medical applications will boost the market for advanced visualization techniques, according to a new report.
The North American market for 3D/4D visualization in medical imaging applications was worth $0.5 billion last year and is forecast to reach $1.36 billion in 2013, according to a study from US market-research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Cardiovascular imaging, particularly using CT, is fuelling much of the growth, while powerful server-client technology means that 3D imaging is migrating beyond the radiology department into other clinical specialisms.
"While the latest imaging technologies are helping to capture the anatomy and functions in unprecedented ways, advanced visualization is the key to exploiting the ever-growing image data sets," noted Frost & Sullivan analyst Nadim Daher. "Enterprise-wide deployments broaden the scope of 3D imaging projects and call for an enterprise-oriented approach to the market," he added.
Among the main commercial competitors, imaging equipment OEMs have an immense advantage and capture the bulk of the revenues, claims Frost & Sullivan. For the independent vendors, the message is clear: focus on technology differentiation. Many PACS companies, for example, are integrating advanced in-house visualization capabilities into their products.
"Independent vendors need to increase efforts on maintaining a technological edge, as is currently the case with thin-clients and the enterprise model for advanced visualization," explained Daher. "Balancing direct sales and sales through partnerships with PACS and modality vendors will ensure sustained growth, but also calls for restructuring and diversifying the sales organization."
The bottom line, the study concludes, is that advanced visualization needs to better integrate into the PACS workflow and the imaging IT "ecosystem" if it is to provide a more profitable business model.
• In a separate report, Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the North American market for medical display monitors will be worth $573.6 million in 2013 - up from $329.9 million last year. "The expansion of PACS into smaller healthcare practices is promoting unit growth in the imaging displays market," says the study. At the same time, "the introduction of high-definition technology in the surgical arena is not only supporting unit growth but is also arresting price declines [linked to cheaper LCD technology]."