Enhanced telemedicine market growth in 1999 still no billion dollar deal

Jacksonville 08 December 1999Driven by increased spending on information technology, the market for store-and-forward and real time clinical imaging systems is demonstrating double-digit revenue growth in 1999. This is announced by Feedback Research Services which equally has forecast that the combined worldwide sales of video-based home care, telemedicine, and teleradiology systems would possibly reach $172.0 million for 1999.

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In the telemedicine segment, the unit sales were higher, but equipment prices have dropped in response to stronger competition from low-cost desktop solutions. Teleradiology continues to experience robust demand to support remote diagnostic imaging and enterprise-wide Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS). Home care telemedicine is currently dominated by one well-established competitor within the United States, which is American TeleCare, based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, but launches by major electronics companies in 2000 could change this picture.

The important question for health care product manufacturers is whether telemedicine can ever reach the huge potential everyone anticipated during the mid-1990s. For reference, the global market for x-ray products has been approximated by investment analysts to be $11.0+ billion annually. When telemedicine is defined as "the delivery of health care using video-based clinical services", product sales in this market are far short of the billion dollar mark, even with an estimated $300 million in spending from the United States federal government being added in 2000.

Within the telemedicine industry, however, there is a new effort to include e-health and telehealth applications. Any change in the definition, of course, can skew the numbers, but product and service volumes are the real test. Ongoing bottom-up analysis is the only way to determine if sales are rising or falling. Industry participants are the primary source of this kind of information, but the validity of their estimates may be unintentionally biased.

For the future, there's no doubt that traditional videoconferencing solutions will make way for Internet-based systems which can handle the bandwidth needed for large image processing and real time video. In the meantime, innovative companies are introducing simpler systems that integrate well with existing networks.

Feedback Research Services' publications analyse revenues and growth rates, building a total market from the contributions of individual competitors. Interviews expand literature-based information to provide comprehensive descriptions of barriers, benefits, issues, and trends. Currently available reports cover the dermatology, diabetes, home care, medical call centre/telephone triage, and telemedicine markets.


Leslie Versweyveld

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