The European general radiology market comprising analogue radiography (AR) and digital radiography (DR) systems will register steady growth. The use of computed readers (CRs) and image digitisation techniques are resulting in high-resolution x-ray images that yield better clinical information. While DR systems are perceived as the main driver of the total general x-rays market and are projected to make the bulk of contributions to overall revenues, the AR segment will also grow, albeit at a considerably lower rate.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (medicalimaging.frost.com), European Market for General X Rays, estimates that the market was worth $224.0 million in 2007 and will reach $352.6 million in 2014.
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"The present digitisation trend in Europe is helping the market for DR systems to grow," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Darshana De. "Superior image quality, low radiation exposure and enhanced workflow are some of the advantages of a DR system that are promoting uptake levels."
DR technology was introduced in the mid 1990s to improve image quality and overcome the shortcomings of CR technology. The primary aim of DR systems was to eliminate the use of consumables such as plates and cassettes. The image is directly obtained on digital display, obviating the need for an additional reader or any type of consumables, thereby drastically reducing operating costs.
Current AR systems equipped with an optional CR represent an intermediate step between traditional film radiography and DR. In comparison to the traditional film screen method, CR uses plates instead of films. The use of a CR reader in an analogue system has helped this segment grow, although at a significantly slower pace than earlier, and AR systems continue to face stiff competition from DR systems.
Among the challenges that the market faces are the high equipment prices, which are acting as deterrents to widespread adoption. On the competitive front, intense competition among vendors is threatening profitability and leading to market concentration. Market expansion is also impeded by the sizeable initial investments required to update current radiography modalities to electronic information management systems.
"As with any new technology, the current radiology market is associated with high initial costs required to obtain the newest and most sophisticated features," explains De. "New technology implementation entails learning new skills and processes for radiologists and physicians and there is inertia on this front."
To maintain or augment their present positions, market participants need to develop customised sales, support and financial plans for each buyer. Companies should produce cost-effective, tailor-made equipment with good specifications.
European Market for General X Rays is part of the Medical Imaging Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: World Digital Radiography (DR) Markets, Digitisation Initiatives in the European Medical Imaging Markets, US Digital and Computed Radiography (DR/CR) Markets. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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