Namaste AOCR-IRIA 2018!

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The 71st edition of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association Annual Conference (IRIA 2018) promises to be a memorable milestone in the annals of the venerable Association. Clubbed with the 17th edition of the biannual Asian Oceanian Congress of Radiology (AOCR), which comes to India after a long gap of 25 years, the double bonanza of IRIA – AOCR comes at a time when major imaging companies are rejigging their business strategies.

For instance, a Reuters report dated January 18 quotes GE CEO John Flannery mulling spin-offs of its power, aviation and healthcare units in major turnaround bid. In May 2016, GE’s German peer, Siemens, in a major structural re-orientation, shifted focus to energy and industrial equipment and re-branded its medical imaging business as Siemens Healthineers. Siemens Healthineers could go for an IPO in the first half of 2018 but the company has asserted that it will retain majority stakes, a clear belief that healthcare has the potential to be bigger than energy and other industrial sectors. Dutch peer Philips spun off its lighting division i 2016 to focus on medical devices and healthcare products and services.

The size of the medical imaging market is definitely drool worthy, with all research reports predicting steady growth, driven by aging populations, rising incidence of chronic diseases and the potential capacity of patients in the Rest of the World (ROW) markets to pay for more expensive treatments as sales in US, Europe and other developed markets plateau.

According to a June 2017 Orbis Research report, the global medical imaging market will grow at a CAGR of 4.95 per cent during the period 2017-2021. According to another agency, Global Industry Analysts (GIA), 3D medical imaging will reach $3.4 billion by 2024. While the US will remain the largest market, RoW comprising Middle East and Africa, will have a CAGR of 10.7 per cent from 2017-2021, thanks to increased emphasis on health by these governments as well as a growing affluent middle class. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the global diagnostic imaging market is expected to reach approximately $36.43 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 6.6 per cent from 2016 to 2021.

The rising percentage of elderly patients presents unique challenges to the medical imaging community. Multi-factorial conditions like cancer call for superior imaging techniques and technologies. In a bid to differentiate and offer a superior product with more benefits to the user community, imaging equipment are designing their equipment with the radiologist in mind. Hence, glasses free 3D viewing systems with the added benefits of reduced eye fatigue and increased cognitive awareness will drive penetration of 3D imaging technology, according to the GIA report.

The diagnostic imaging equipment market in India, according to a Mordor Intelligence report, is expected to reach $ 2.06 billion by the end of 2020, with MRI, PET, SPECT and CT technologies set to dominate the market. While North America currently dominates the market with nearly 20 per cent of its GDP spent on healthcare, the Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow at a faster rate owing to the rapidly aging population and increase in the chronic disease population in this region. It is expected to overtake Europe due to the increasing technological advancements and growing awareness among the population. Expensive procedures and equipment, side effects of diagnostic imaging procedures, and saturation of developed markets are some of the factors limiting the growth of the medical imaging market.

Thus, the stage is set for AOCR-IRIA 2018, which promises to see the launch of new products across CR, DR, CT and MR. Do look out for RAD Daily, the show dailies brought out by Express Healthcare, the official media partner for  IRIA – AOCR 2018.

Viveka Roychowdhury