According to RB-140R Medical Imaging, a report by Business Communications Co. Inc. (Norwalk, CT; www.bccresearch.com), the total US medical-imaging market, including imaging equipment and related products, is projected at $8.177 billion in 2002 and is estimated to grow at a 4.0% average annual growth rate (AAGR) to $9.964 billion by 2007. The market segment for medical-imaging equipment is expected to grow at a 3.4% AAGR from an estimated $6.144 billion in 2002 to $7.247 billion by 2007.
Imaging-product sales expected to grow rapidly include digital radiography units, multislice computed-tomography (CT) scanners, open and ultrahigh-field magnetic- resonance-imaging (MRI) equipment, multimodal CT/positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, and portable ultrasound units. The clinical use of PET and the installed base of dedicated PET scanners will also increase dramatically, although the sales expansion of the past few years is expected to moderate. On the other hand, products such as conventional radiography and fluoroscopy units, single-slice CT scanners, and hybrid gamma cameras are expected to exhibit low or negative sales growth.
The fastest-growing category of the imaging market consists of computer systems that are used as hosts for imaging equipment. These systems improve the efficiency of radiologists and technicians and also the diagnostic quality of images. Picture archival and communications systems (PACS), which capture, store, transmit, and display images, have transitioned to a mainstream market. This market is pegged at $829 million in 2002 and should expand to $1.694 billion in 2007 at a surging 15.4% AAGR.
Digital storage and display of images is beginning to adversely impact sales of x-ray film. The film and plate category, currently a $1.204 billion market, is figured to decline to $1.023 billion in 2007, as conventional radiography equipment is replaced and PACS become standard equipment in hospitals and imaging centers.
Like its industrial, scientific, and military/aerospace counterparts, medical imaging is continually changing and improving. New products and technologies are being introduced at a rapid pace, which should boost both the imaging and medical markets. However, complicating this scenario are the global economic downturn and company mergers, acquisitions, and alliances. Despite these shortcomings, though, the medical-imaging market is expected to improve steadily as the nation's older population continues to increase and demand superior diagnostics, tests, and treatments.
George Kotelly, Editor in Chief