PACS drives European CR, DR market

The transition from analog film-based technology to PACS digital technology is forcing European hospitals to revamp and update their radiology systems, driving the uptake of CR and particularly DR systems, according to a report recently published by healthcare analysts Frost & Sullivan.

However, continuous price erosion and low adoption rates of PACS in some regions are proving to be key challenges to the growth of the CR and DR systems market in Europe, according to Frost & Sullivan analyst Srividya Badrinarayanan.

Although countries such as the U.K., Germany, and France are showing interest in CR and DR technologies, PACS has not been very openly welcomed by healthcare institutions in Spain and to an extent France, due to financial and budget constraints, according to Frost and Sullivan.

In addition, despite the simultaneous growth of both the markets, the growing popularity of DR systems is reducing the demand for CR systems. Frost and Sullivan attributes this to a combination of higher throughput for DR products as well as a lower radiation dose and superior image quality when compared with CR devices, the firm said. The company did note that CR systems prevail in markets concerned with lower equipment and maintenance costs, as well as in areas that have fewer procedures.

Frost and Sullivan said the European CR market was valued at $261.9 million (U.S.) for 2005 and is expected to reach $322.9 million in 2010. The firm said that the market shows good growth potential in countries such as Spain, Italy, and the U.K. However, it has reached saturation in other large countries such as France and the Scandinavia, where the market for CR systems has now become more of a replacement market, according to the company.

Revenues in the European DR market were valued at $165 million in 2005 and could reach $318.6 million in 2010, Frost and Sullivan said. Germany ranks top in the DR systems market with a 23% share of the total European market followed by Scandinavia with 18% and the U.K. with 16%, according to the firm.

The report, "Strategic Analysis of the Digitisation Initiatives in European Medical Imaging Markets," noted that vendors will have to chalk out appropriate pricing plan for CR and DR systems and create more awareness on the advantages of digital systems, while also focusing on developing clinical performance of the product and bundling it with RIS/PACS.

By staff writers
January 10, 2006

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