Managed Care

Downturn expected for imaging technologies

Although sales of all medical imaging products are projected to increase 6 percent to $21.4 billion in 2010, overall growth beyond that point will slow, according to a new report.

Sales of computed tomography (CT) scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) equipment have been growing 6.8 percent annually since 2005. Future growth will reflect the continuing efforts of hospitals and outpatient facilities to upgrade patient testing capabilities to new, advanced technologies, according to the report, “Medical Imaging (Equipment, Agents, & Consumables): U.S. Industry Study with Forecasts to 2010 & 2015” issued by the Freedonia Group, a market research company.

“Health care establishments that purchase machines will want to use them as much as possible,” says Bill Martineau, an industry analyst at Freedonia. “They will seek to justify the performance of expensive tests.”

Beyond 2010, however, the picture changes.

“Overall growth in medical imaging equipment demand will decelerate and lag the levels averaged during the past decade,” the report says. By this time, hospitals and outpatient facilities will have completed their upgrade efforts. The number of medical facilities that will initiate the expansion of their diagnostic imaging capabilities and other modernization practices “is expected to decrease gradually over the next several years,” according to the report.

“Managed care companies will face increasing pressure to cover imaging tests — on the basis that these tests promote the early detection of cancer and other medical conditions and can save lives as well as avoid long-term costs associated with treating diseases detected at later stages,” says Martineau.

Source: The Freedonia Group. Medical Imaging (Equipment, Agents, & Consumables): U.S. Industry Study with Forecasts to 2010 & 2015

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