Special report: The economics of MRI Coils

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | September 17, 2012
International Day of Radiology 2012
From the September 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

MRI manufacturers have purchased larger companies, while smaller coil companies have had a harder time staying alive. During the past several years, the MRI coil repair and sales market took a business downturn of 30-40 percent, according to Richard. Smaller companies, which depended upon sales to the OEMs or direct sales to customers, might have been hit hardest.

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“There were many small coil companies that depended upon research dollars to produce specialty coils,” says Richard. “Those research dollars have become much more competitive for institutions, hospitals and research universities. As a result there is a downturn on that side of the equation.”

While more companies appear to be offering the coil repair services, there isn’t actually an increase of businesses doing the work, according to Ryan McCartney, sales manager for MRIcoilrepair.com, a division of Creative Foam Medical Systems. His company services MRIs, and is an OEM contract manufacturer.

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“Independent service organizations may offer the service, but they still funnel it through a handful of actual repair houses and people like ourselves,” he says.

Looking ahead, the global MRI market is expected to grow from $4 billion to $4.7 billion between 2011 and 2016, at an estimated CAGR of 3.55 percent, boosted by technological advancements, according to a report published by the research firm Markets and Markets last November.

With the burgeoning market, there is going to be an increased need for expanding repairs and sales, according to Gabor Mizsei, chief technology officer at MR Instruments, a company that manufactures, sells and services their own coils.

“The coil market is saturating,” he says. “Nevertheless, I strongly believe that we will see competitively priced, suitable, and reliable products emerging from smaller vendors, complementing OEMs’ product lines.”

Keeping up with technological advancements
Coil repair encompasses three facets: electrical, mechanical and cosmetic. And as MRI coil technology continues to evolve, service providers must remain in the know to develop a better understanding of how to amend any potential faults.

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