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Radiology directors tend to stick with one brand, survey finds

by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | August 15, 2013
When it comes to purchasing radiology equipment, one vendor tends to rule them all. New research from Frost & Sullivan shows that the market for medical imaging equipment is primarily dominated by single brands. In fact, the gap between the leading manufacturer and runner up's market share is 15 percentage points on average.

The survey covered the purchasing of general radiography, ultrasound and capital imaging, PACS and imaging IT hardware/middleware. Established imaging equipment brands make up at least 25 percent of the market in their respective segments, and the top capital imaging equipment vendors can lead with as much as 55 percent of the market share, the survey found.

Though single brands are being chosen, it's not usually by just a single person. Only 9 percent of surveyed facilities said that the radiology director is the sole decision maker. The rest reported that the radiology director was part of a larger panel of decision-makers.

"Radiology director is the title we found to have the most authority, not the C-suite types of titles," Tonya Fowler, global director of customer research, told DOTmed News. "That's pretty typical, because when you get to the C-level you might not be involved in all of those small details."

IT may be the best space for smaller vendors to try and squeeze into. The major PACS companies make up 25 percent of business, and imaging IT hardware and middleware companies take 32 percent of the market. Top vendors make up 32 percent of ultrasound imaging and 40 percent of general radiography equipment.

Survey responders also reported high levels of brand satisfaction, which is another reason companies trying to make inroads in the market face a challenge. GE in particular was singled out as having a strong competitive advantage in the survey.

"Competitors looking to displace entrenched market leaders would have to demonstrate significant value-add regarding price, technology or service support offerings to influence behavior," the survey results said.

This was the first time the Frost & Sullivan customer research team worked with its health care team for a project.

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