Computed radiography and digital radiography systems lead radiology
digitisation across Europe
17 January 2006
London, UK. Apart from improving efficiency and increasing the workflow
of radiology departments, another factor driving the digitisation of
radiographic images is the implementation of picture archiving and
communications systems (PACS). Since input into PACS is in a digital form,
hospitals and healthcare establishments need to convert their film screen
images into digital data in order to upload them into the PACS network. This
transition from analog film-based technology to digital technology is
forcing hospitals to revamp and update their radiology systems, thereby,
driving the uptake of CR and particularly DR systems.
While analog screen film X-rays have been in use since the time Roentgen
discovered X-rays, their growing use has necessitated better and faster
equipment to cater to the increase in diagnostic procedures. In meeting
these requirements, digital systems such as CR and DR reduce procedure time
and increase patient throughput. Further, digital technology speeds image
availability and also reduces image retakes and duplication costs, boosting
overall workflow and productivity.
"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," notes Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Industry
Manager Srividya Badrinarayanan. "Implementation of PACS is particularly
vital for the growth as most healthcare institutions invest in CR or DR
systems only when they have radiology information systems (RIS) or PACS
operating or plan to implement the same."
In this respect, although countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany
and France are showing keen 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 the financial and budget constraints.
Considering the individual markets for CR and DR technologies, despite
the simultaneous growth of both the markets, the growing popularity of DR
systems is reducing the demand for CR systems. Low radiation dose during the
X-ray procedure combined with superior image quality make DR systems highly
sought after, especially among institutions that are concerned about the
radiation dose given to patients. Also, as there is no manual labour
involved, the time taken for obtaining the digital display is very less and
this increases the total patient throughput, thus profiting the radiology
Nevertheless, with their higher prices and maintenance costs, DR systems
prove to be expensive in cases where there are lesser number of procedures
to be performed. In such cases, customers show a preference for CR systems,
especially smaller imaging centres and private physicians who do not have
access to substantial finances.
The European CR systems market was valued at $261.9 million for 2005 and
is expected to reach $322.9 million in 2010. Although the market shows good
growth potential in countries such as Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom,
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
Revenues in the European DR systems market on the other hand were valued
at $165.0 million in 2005 and could reach $318.6 million in 2010. Germany
ranks top in the DR systems market with a 23.0 per cent share of the total
European market followed by Scandinavia with 18.0 per cent and the United
Kingdom with 16.0 per cent.
"Though there is major drive to convert analog screen film into digital
form using CR and DR systems, the market, especially for CR systems is
experiencing continuous price erosion, thereby making it difficult for the
industry participants to sustain their profitability," says Ms.
Badrinarayanan." Hence, vendors will have to chalk out appropriate pricing
plan for their digital systems and create more awareness on the advantages
of the digital systems and network, while also focusing on developing
clinical performance of the system and bundling it with PACS/RIS.
Email Radhika Menon Theodore, Corporate Communications, Frost & Sullivan,