Cardiology, information systems

Growth potential for cardiology PACS in Europe

21 June 2006

London, England. In an era of restricted European healthcare investment, the cardiology picture archiving and communications system (PACS) market is expected to show significant growth potential, driven by end-user willingness to locate funds to purchase this equipment.

A Frost & Sullivan study concludes that that the European Cardiology PACS Market earned revenues of US$73.6 million in 2005 and estimates this will reach US$200.5 million in 2012.

This willingness to purchase systems will be built upon the need for digital management of an increasingly overwhelming amount of cardiology information — a need that is being ever more adequately addressed by the inclusion of improved cardiology-specific tools in cardiology PACS/ cardiology information systems (CIS) from suppliers.

"An aging population, rising levels of obesity, and a high incidence of heart and circulatory disease are increasing the amount of cardiology studies by 20 per cent a year" notes Frost & Sullivan Medical Imaging Team Leader, Martin Bryant. "This overriding demographic factor will drive growth in the cardiology PACS market."

The mounting incidence of heart disease has been paralleled by the retirement of the affluent baby boomer population, a group that is increasingly willing to pay for services not provided by public health authorities. This has resulted in an urgent need for some form of image and data management in the realm of cardiology in order to effectively cope with the huge volumes of information generated by these new studies. Accordingly, healthcare providers are boosting investments in cardiology PACS systems.

Despite the acceptance shown towards these systems, however, the financial pressures felt by end users is likely to reduce the investments in the infrastructure needed to house a cardiology PACS. Cardiologists sometimes find it harder to make a case for the necessary investment this entails, as, unlike the radiology department, cardiology does not serve the rest of the hospital, and other departments do not use cardiology PACS as extensively as they do radiology PACS.

"In Europe, the distinct lack of healthcare investments will be felt most acutely in the cardiology PACS market, purchase of which signifies incurring substantial upfront costs," explains Mr. Bryant. "This problem is exacerbated by the predominance of the capital investment model in Europe, with many providers reluctant to take out leasing options."

Designing a cardiology PACS system based on an open architecture, with sufficient flexibility will be the key to overcoming this restraint. End users with existing radiology PACS infrastructure will be able to opt for cardiology PACS and CIS modules that suit their needs, and fit onto existing radiology networks and archiving.

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