Global shipments of diagnostic displays are forecast to show a 5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2014 and 2018, according to the latest DisplaySearch Specialty Displays Report.
The report found larger high-resolution wide-aspect-ratio displays are starting to become more popular, but 21.3-inch displays had a 67 percent share of unit shipments and a 65 percent share of revenues in the first half of 2014.
Similar to diagnostic shipments, clinical-review-display shipments are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 4 percent between 2014 and 2018.
"The surgical display market's base is still relatively small (when compared to other display markets) at 87,000 units worldwide," Todd Fender, senior analyst for professional and commercial displays and specialty displays at DisplaySearch, told eWEEK. "Therefore, increases of 10,000 units per year worldwide equate to relatively high percentage gains."
Fender said most of the surgical display growth can be attributed to new higher-resolution, large displays that are readily available and the fact that prices have declined considerably over the past several years.
More than eight in 10 (83 percent of) clinical review display sizes fall between 19 inches and 22 inches, and 98 percent have a resolution of 2MP or lower.
Surgical display shipments are forecast to increase more than any other medical-imaging category, reaching a 7 percent CAGR between 2014 and 2018.
Although almost half of surgical displays fall between 15 inches and 20 inches, the fastest area of growth is forecast to be in displays that are 55 inches and larger, which are expected to grow at a 23 percent CAGR between 2014 and 2018.
Additionally, 8 megapixel and 9 megapixel displays will grow significantly between 2014 and 2018; however, neither resolution will make up a large portion of the surgical display market.
"Higher-megapixel display demand is rising," Fender said. "However, the medical imaging market has required higher-resolution displays for many years. Therefore, the base of high-resolution displays had already been established and the growth percentage of higher-resolution displays is not as explosive as it is in other markets."
The report found veteran radiologists who were trained on, and had previously read, images on traditional X-ray film using light boxes have been the driving force behind the continued strength of 21.3-inch displays with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
However, as younger doctors enter the workforce, the legacy of film and grayscale-only images will slowly fade away, the report predicted. For example, in the first half of 2014, 43 percent of diagnostic displays were grayscale, but by 2018, these displays will represent just 34 percent of the market.
"In the near future, the diagnostic displays market will slowly evolve from dual-screen to single-screen and from grayscale to color," Fender explained. "Grayscale displays may be phased out in the future as older doctors leave the practice and when color displays can perform at or above the levels of their grayscale counterparts."
Displays with 6MP to 10MP and higher are forecast to increase over the next several years, as users migrate from multiple screens to single-screen viewing.
Fender also noted mobile technology is entering the medical marketplace, but in the near term may be limited to certain areas within the market.
"Although some doctors may be able to make a diagnosis via mobile device that a bone is broken, they may not be able to provide a diagnosis of the severity of the break or provide a recommended treatment regimen based on the mobile image," he said.