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Vital Signs - Review of Key Medical Imaging Market Trends from RSNA 2015

  • February 2016
  • 11 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 3641151

Summary

Table of Contents

Disrupting the Big Four and Technology Partnerships
Big Iron at RSNA 2015: A Fairly Quiet Story
Siemens Healthcare could have stolen the show at RSNA 2015 if it had chosen to bring to McCormick Place a Magnetom Terra, the breakthrough 7-tesla MRI system it launched clinically earlier in the year. Instead, Siemens and the other major players in the Big Four— GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, and Toshiba Medical— made Big Iron at RSNA 2015 a somewhat quieter story. At least in these four booths, the capital
imaging equipment at RSNA 2015 was a showcase of incremental upgrades to existing premium offerings and a launch of high-performance, mid-range, and entry-level offerings. Notably, improved dual-energy (spectral) imaging in CT and enhanced metal-artifact reduction algorithms in MRI were common denominators across at least the top three vendors. In a nutshell, the major vendors have been working diligently on renewing older products to refresh and polish their portfolios, and filling any remaining gaps to ensure each niche is filled with the right product at the correct price.

Samsung’s Bold Move into Big Iron Territory
Taking advantage of time and enjoying some latitude, contenders such as Hitachi Medical continue to upscale their products, moving closer than ever to the ultra-premium segments. Meanwhile, Samsung is pursuing its
ascension further into Big Iron territory, moving beyond the portable CT equipment already at hand. Arguably, it is Samsung’s unveiling of its new NExCT7 premium CT scanner, some features of which are still FDA 510(k) pending, that captured the highest attention on the RSNA 2015 show floor. Did this launch of high-end equipment by a colossal new entrant catch the established vendors by surprise? Probably not; everyone in the industry remembers the bold statements Samsung made back in 2011, when it announced its ambitious plan to be “No. 1 in 2020” in medical imaging. “We have a target to be the No. 1 across ultrasound devices, X-rays and MRIs”; this resounding statement from one of Samsung’s leaders at the time suggests the giant could well break into Big Iron MRI at the next RSNA. Without any doubt, Samsung’s “new” competitors take the threat very seriously. With such deep pockets and assuming continued commitment to its growth strategy, the Korean giant has all it takes to forge a place for itself among the dominant players in the field, like it has done in many other industries.

Long Way to Go for a Clinical Edge
One cannot help but watch Samsung’s attempts to break into the big league of medical imaging without some level of skepticism. In reality, unless the company is able to quickly ramp up its capabilities in advanced clinical applications and build its direct sales presence in the market, it will take many years before Samsung can really start to compete “medically” with the Big Four. It is one thing to capture a few market share points in ultrasound and in digital radiography, which Samsung is already doing, and a whole other thing to cater effectively to the imaging sub-specialties with top-tier imaging equipment.

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