With the wealth of clinical applications and diverse systems choices, digital X-ray units are steadily gaining acceptance by technologists and physicians alike for the ease of use of digital images over film-based X-rays. Though systems prices still limit wide-scale market penetration, manufacturers are responding with decreasing selling prices annually as well as offering a range of systems that can benefit both large hospitals and smaller private-practice groups.
Frost & Sullivan Medical Imaging group (medicalimaging.frost.com) finds that the U.S. Digital and Computed Radiography Markets earned revenues of $678 million in 2005 and estimates this to reach $977 million in 2012.
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“Digital X-ray markets have been booming since 2002, with manufacturers offering diversified product lines, lower systems prices and comprehensive implementation support,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Subha Basu. “The industry has also seen increasing adoption in multiple non-hospital settings such as diagnostic imaging centers and private-practice orthopedics groups.”
Traditional X-ray using film to process exposures are slowly being displaced by digital systems that can acquire and present images within seconds of X-ray exposure, enhancing workflow and increasing staff productivity. With exquisite resolution and higher efficiencies, digital systems also benefit patients since exposure to harmful radiation doses is both lower and require less time in front of an X-ray generator.
Today, sophisticated imaging systems are usually confined to the larger medical centers and hospitals. Since these facilities have higher patient volumes, greater capital allocations and require the most advanced imaging systems, they have the financial resources to invest in both DR and CR systems. Smaller medical facilities such as private-practice groups and community hospitals tend to favor CR due to price restrictions. However, as the prices of DR decline annually and the systems mature into more compact units, DR and CR manufacturers will eventually target the same sets of clinical settings since the high initial investments of DR can be countered with its high throughput and increased workflow.
“The line between DR and CR is slowly being blurred by the increasing number of mid-tier systems that cater to buyers with restricted capital and space resources,” explains Subha Basu. “Already in 2005, smaller budgeted medical practices are deciding between a high-end CR unit or a low-end DR system as the best option for value-added investment decisions.”
The key determinant to future growth rates lies in adoption of digital imaging systems by new customers. These clients include clinical settings where digital X-rays have yet to make a significant impact, including community hospitals, private-practice orthopedics/radiology groups and veterinary practices. These groups are in need of digital systems that can take productivity and cost savings to new levels.
The U.S. Digital and Computed Radiography Markets part of the Medical Imaging Growth Partnership Services which also includes research in the following markets: Asian Digital and Computed Radiography Markets, U.S. Radiology Picture Archiving and Communications Systems and the U.S. Small Animal Imaging Markets. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews are available to the press.
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