Diagnostic imaging modalities have become essential tools in the diagnosis and management of patient conditions throughout the world.  However, local economic conditions and healthcare policies continue to influence the relative adoption of imaging modalities in the different global markets. To monitor and compare how the imaging modalities are being adopted on a worldwide basis, IMV’s inaugural syndicated 2019 Global Imaging Market Outlook Report covers ten key country and geographical markets in North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, Japan, India, Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Over 300 respondents participated in IMV’s global survey, and they represent key opinion leaders, with nearly half of the respondents being the chair/chief/heads of their radiology departments, and over half being practicing radiologists.  The radiologists also cover a broad cross section of experience in terms of their years in practice, with one quarter of the responding radiologists having been in practice for more than 25 years, 24% for 16-25 years, 19% for 11-15 years, 19% for 6-10 years, and 13% for 0-5 years.  Over half of the participants are associated with large 500+ bed hospitals and/or academic/university hospitals in these global markets.

Seven imaging modalities are covered in this study, including CT scanners, MR scanners, PET scanners, NM cameras (SPECT-only and SPECT/CT), fixed C-arm systems, fixed general x-ray systems, and radiographic fluoroscopy (RF) systems.  Since the survey respondents are associated with relatively large institutions, these seven imaging modalities have a relatively high presence across the ten global regions…but respondents in the emerging markets are less likely to have NM cameras or PET scanners on their premises, particularly when compared to North America and Western Europe.

Overall, these opinion leaders are optimistic about the growth of imaging in their countries, with 80% saying their imaging procedure volume will increase in 2019 over 2018, and a key department priority is to manage increased procedure volume.  Respondents in the emerging markets are more optimistic about their outlook for increases in imaging procedures than those in the developed markets.  However, solutions to address this procedure growth may be a challenge.  Only one quarter of the respondents feel their “capacity is sufficient to meet their needs over the next 2-3 years,” but their prospects for acquiring imaging equipment may be inhibited by delays in their internal and governmental approval processes and by local economic conditions.  Respondents in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa are particularly concerned about their local economy limiting their capital budgets for imaging equipment, and are very cost conscious about equipment and service pricing, while seeking reliable equipment and responsive service in their environments.

Regarding their future plans for acquiring imaging equipment over the next three years, the top two modalities planned in all ten global regions are CT and MR scanners.  Taking all seven of the modalities into account, only 13% of the respondents say their main facility is not planning to purchase any of these modalities.  The incidence of purchase plans does vary by global region, with China being the most active market for purchasing imaging equipment, while Japan, Latin America and Eastern Europe are the least active.

The top three department priorities overall are “improve department workflow & productivity,” “improve patient satisfaction,” and “keep department up-to-date with state-of-the-art technology” with 70-80% of the respondents giving high “6” and “7” ratings, which influence, not only department operations but also their purchase criteria.  The department chair/chief/heads of radiology are especially interested in keeping their imaging technology up-do-date, compared to the practicing radiologists.

The future of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools for imaging are of particular interest to these respondents, with the top-ranked potential use being “capabilities to more precisely diagnose patient conditions and enhance personalized medicine.”  In their comments on potential uses, while some radiologists see the potential for AI to improve clinical decision support and image quality, others express concern on when and how AI applications will be integrated into their routine practice and daily workflow, and work seamlessly with their imaging equipment, PACS and RIS.

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Lorna Young is senior director of market research at IMV Medical Information Division, part of Science and Medicine Group

IMV’s 2019 Global Imaging Market Outlook Report explores worldwide trends for seven key imaging modalities, including CT scanners, MR scanners, PET scanners, NM cameras (SPECT-only and SPECT/CT), fixed C-arm systems, fixed general x-ray systems, and radiographic fluoroscopy (RF) systems.  Manufacturers covered in this report include Agfa, Canon, Carestream, Fujifilm, GE, Hitachi, Konica Minolta, Philips, Samsung, Shimadzu, Siemens, Spectrum Dynamics, and United Imaging.

Radiologist opinions about the key issues affecting their department priorities and outlook are compared by the ten global regions, which illustrate the challenges and opportunities that radiology faces worldwide.  Key topics covered in this report include the relative distribution of the imaging equipment installed base across ten global regions, manufacturer presence, purchase plans, total procedure volume, and radiology practice characteristics.

For information about purchasing IMV’s 2019 Global Imaging Market Outlook Report, visit the report page or call 703-778-3080 ext. 1033 to speak with a representative.