Radiology is an important department at most hospitals and one of the largest spending categories along with the labor, medicines and laboratories. However, ongoing shortage of radiologists in the backdrop of increasing number of diagnostic radiology tests has created array of opportunities for teleradiology firms worldwide. Teleradiology services focus on delivery of radiology and consultation services with the help of advanced information and communication tools for exchanging the requisite information for effective diagnosis, and treatment follow-up. Currently, teleradiology exhibits rapid advancement in image processing and communication tools and technologies. Hence, radiology experts believe that the teleradiology market will provide lucrative business opportunities in the near future.
It is highly convenient to scale-up and effectively manage the radiology practice using a teleradiology platform. This involves group of talented specialists and subspecialists endowed with designed quality programs who provide support to local radiologists using transmission modes such as satellite connections, standard telephone lines, and wide area networks (WAN). In the past, this process involved analog images that needed to be converted to digital binary code and then forwarding it to the receiving station. However, the digital technology transformation in last few decades has changed the film-based images to its digital version for easy manipulation, faster communication and proper data handling. The conventional process of converting analog images to digital images consumed huge amounts of space and unarguably was a tedious task without any assurance for image quality and data accuracy. With the evolution of Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and Radiology Information Systems (RIS), there has been a significant rise in need and demand of teleradiology technologies and services.
The global market for teleradiology services has been analyzed on the basis of modalities and geography. X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI, and nuclear imaging are the modalities majorly emphasized in the report. The market has been segmented into major regions such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Rest of the World. In 2014, North America held the largest share in the global teleradiology market owing to presence of well-equipped hospitals and healthcare institutions, well informed patients and increased use of high bandwidth internet technologies.
Breast cancer is currently contributing to the growth in demand for teleradiology practices in the U.S. and Europe due to increasing incidences of breast cancer followed by improved healthcare awareness among the patient population. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting around 12% of women in the U.S. and also has anticipated the number of invasive breast cancer cases to reach 232,340 in the year 2013. In addition, ready acceptance of novel medical approaches coupled with increased healthcare expenditure further propels the scope and demand for teleradiology practices in this region.
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Major countries in Europe such as the U.K., Germany, and France are also facing the problem of lack of expert radiologists. This results in raised up demand for teleradiology services in emergency cases or for second opinion. However, lack of advanced image transfer technology in rural areas, complex cross-border regulations, high cost of set-up, and the linguistic differences that leads to confusion might restrict the growth of the teleradiology market in Europe during the forecast period 2015 to 2023. In Asia-Pacific ongoing developments of medical imaging platforms and healthcare informatics, are expected to drive the growth of this market during the forecast period. On the other hand factors such as high cost of technology followed by lack of security of image data might hamper the growth of teleradiology technologies worldwide.
Major market players operating in the global teleradiology market include Agfa-Gevaert N.V., Cybernet Medical Corporation, Everlight Radiology, Global Diagnostics Ltd., InHealth, Medica Reporting Ltd., ONRAD, Inc., Radisphere National Radiology Group, Inc., Radiology Reporting Online (RRO), RamSoft, Inc., Sectra AB, Telemedicine Clinic, Teleradiology Solutions, Inc., TeleDiagnosys Services Pvt Ltd., The Telelaudo, Virtual Radiologic and (vRad).