Although the title of a recent InMedica report is “10 Predictions for 2013 in the Medical Electronics Industry,” the scope of the projections apply to the medical device industry writ large. If last year is any indication, the predictions are likely to be accurate; in 2012, the UK-based research firm had a dozen predictions, nine of which were correct and two were just short of their forecasts.
Without further ado, we bring you the top 10 predictions for the coming year.
- Obamacare to Have Mixed Effects. First the bad: the much-discussed device tax provision of the Affordable Care Act will decrease hospitals spend on medical technology. Meanwhile, per-capita spending on healthcare overall is set to continue its upward trajectory. Use of advanced imaging modalities like CT and MRI will rise as reimbursement penalties linked to them increase. On the bright side: the field of healthcare IT and telehealth are expected to grow, driving demand for technologies that are compatible with EMR systems.
- European Medtech Market to Slump. InMedica predicts that 2013 could be the “the most challenging period for medical device suppliers in 2013, in the last 15 years.” Thanks to austerity measures and reimbursement cuts, European demand for new medical technology is expected to be low.
- Southeast Asia Pacific Set to Expand. A new directive provides a single standard for medical device certification for seven Southeast Asian countries in the region, which will help fuel demand for technologies such as ultrasound, digital x-ray, and PACS. The growth opportunities are significant, considering that more than 600 million people lack sufficient access to healthcare services in the region.
- Telehealth Market to Surge. InMedica predicts the telehealth market will expand by 55.0% globally in 2013. “We see healthcare reform as important in pushing the growth of telehealth,” says Theo Ahadome, a senior Analyst at InMedica. While there is no direct reimbursement planned for home monitoring technology in the United States, hospitals will be penalized for readmissions, sparking demand for home monitoring technology.
- Adoption of PACS and VNA Managed Services to Grow. The global market for Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) is picking up steam. Early in 2012, MarketResearch.com predicted the market would grow at a CAGR of 10% to reach $5.4 billion by 2017. In the United States, the vast majority of radiology departments now have PACS. The data, however, is often siloed and not shared across different hospital departments, Theo Ahadome explains. In addition, the costs to store the data are rising, as providers generally must store records for seven years after the most recent treatment. As a result, vendor-neutral archive (VNA) services, which enable storing and sharing of data across manufacturer systems, are expected to expand.
- Market Share of EMR Vendors to Grow. Especially in the United States, demand is growing for hospital-wide technologies to track medical records. In large part, this is because of the Meaningful Use incentive program for electronic health records (EHRs) in the United States. The second stage of Meaningful Use rules have been announced, which call for interoperability of health information.
- X-ray Technology Goes Wireless. The international market for general radiography x-ray equipment began shifting to wireless technology since 2009. InMedica predicts that, in 2013, 37% of unit shipments of general radiography flat-panel detectors will be wireless.
- Demand for Non-Invasive Treatment Expands. Owing to cuts in healthcare budgets and reimbursement for hospital-acquired infections, demand for technologies that cut the risk of infection during treatment is growing. Also contributing to this trend is the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, which recently recommended broader adoption of non-invasive ventilation to cut infection rates associated with endotracheal intubation.
- Neonatal Care Product Market to Take Off. The BRIC nations, China in particular, are driving the expansion of this space, which has traditionally seen slow growth.
- Wearable Fitness Market to Continue Growth. In 2012, 17 million wearable devices were shipped worldwide. Of that total, 16 million for fitness and wellness applications. Heart rate monitors accounted for the biggest slice of the total in 2012. In 2013, InMedica forecasts the share of activity monitors in the wearable fitness devices market will expand to 44.0% from 32.0% in the prior year.
Brian Buntz is the editor-at-large at UBM Canon's medical group. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz.
Image by Sam Churchill.
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