European mobile imaging equipment market on the rise

The European mobile medical imaging equipment market is being driven by increasing demand for digitization among hospitals and the high price of static modalities, according to a recent report from market research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

With procedure volumes increasing and the range of applications growing ever wider, mobile imaging equipment is poised to expand from diagnosis toward biopsies and surgeries, according to the San Jose, CA-based firm. Many small and medium-sized hospitals that do not have the scale or financial resources to purchase the high-end static equipment are turning toward mobile imaging service providers, Frost & Sullivan said.

Mobile imaging equipment also presents an ideal short-term replacement solution for hospitals. However, mobile service providers may find it difficult to maintain their affordability advantage as the mobile imaging market matures and the prices of certain fixed modalities fall, Frost & Sullivan said.

For example, mobile CT scanners are slightly more expensive than their static counterparts, while digital mobile mammography systems are expected to cost five times that of an analog system.

The growing popularity of C-arms in minimally invasive surgeries and angiographies, and the launch of 3D features and introduction of a digital flat-panel detector, are expected to drive the mobile C-arms market, Frost & Sullivan said.

In other modalities, mobile MRI is gaining prominence due to long patient waiting lists for MRI procedures. Mobile PET is also in high demand as smaller healthcare facilities grow skeptical about investing large amounts in a specialized and expensive PET scanner, according to Frost & Sullivan.

With FDG's half-life of two hours, however, mobile PET scanners must deal with ensuring access to the imaging agent. Companies must devise methods to either store or manufacture FDG within the proximity of the examination site, Frost & Sullivan said.

Overall, Frost & Sullivan concluded that the future for mobile medical imaging equipment holds immense opportunities, especially in eastern Europe, where countries are seeking mobile systems to support their healthcare systems. For their part, services providers need to develop high-throughput and scalable technologies to sustain in the market, according to the company.

By staff writers
September 8, 2004

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