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Special report: Despite setbacks, CT market blossoms

by Diana Bradley , Staff Writer
This first appeared in the January 2012 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News


“Big buyers with large budgets are again starting to actively look into premium CT scanners at affordable prices,” Siemens’ Gungor says.

Global view
Four dragons dominate the consolidated global CT systems market, accounting for more than 74 percent of the market share: Siemens Healthcare, GE Healthcare, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation and Philips Healthcare.

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“After a lull, it seems interest in CT equipment is revving back up internationally,” says Ben Powell, marketing manager for medical equipment manufacturer, NeuroLogica. “Some countries that weren’t hurt by the economic turndown seem like they are pretty interested in purchasing CT equipment.”

While the United States had previously been the largest regional medical imaging market, that market –along with those of Europe and Japan – is experiencing a slowdown in growth. Concurrently, China, India and Brazil’s emerging economies are spending more on health care, with their CT systems market expected to grow at CAGRs of 9 percent and 12 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to GlobalData’s report. Over the past few years, the government partnerships between these developing countries and the manufacturers of diagnostic imaging equipment have significantly increased.

Exposing exposure
There is a strong link between the use of CT scans and a drop in mortality, according to a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, improper use of CT can lead to patients getting much more than they bargained for.

In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration reported radiation overdoses that occurred at hospitals in California and Alabama from 2008 to 2010. For nearly two years, 260 patients undergoing CT brain perfusion scans at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center were exposed to eight times the expected level of radiation doses. In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, this month in California, the first phase of a law requiring providers to record CT radiation doses and receive state accreditation goes into effect.

More recently, a Sentinel Event alert issued by the Joint Commission noted that in the past 20 years the U.S. population’s total exposure to ionizing radiation has almost doubled. New actions were recommended for hospitals, including using ultrasound or MRI when similar imaging quality can be produced; adhering to guidelines set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Society for Pediatric Radiology, the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America; ensuring the proper dosing protocol is in place; establishing effective processes and protocols; evaluating the safety of equipment; and establishing a culture of safety and expanding the radiation safety officer’s role to include patient safety and education of dosing and equipment usage for physicians and technologists.

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