Medical Imaging Display Market Shows Robust Growth

The number of radiology procedures continues to rise as the medical industry increases its requirements for more display hours for image reading.

medical imaging technology

The medical imaging display market, including those used in clinical review, diagnostics and surgical procedures, is showing strong growth, according to NPD DisplaySearch’s Specialty Displays Report.

The report projected that between 2013 and 2017, global surgical display revenues and clinical-review display revenues would each grow at a compound average rate of 9 percent, and diagnostic displays are forecast to increase at 5 percent per year.

With the number of radiology procedures continuing to rise year over year, the medical industry is increasing its requirement for more display hours for image reading, which is spurring growth in the diagnostic display market.

The 21.3-inch display, now comprising 67 percent of the market, is expected to continue to be the dominant size in the category.

However, the report noted that due to specialized panel and backlight requirements, few manufacturers participate in this niche market, and those that do participate have limited capabilities and some run on older, less-efficient production lines.

Therefore, costs to produce these panels are higher than more commoditized displays, which results in relatively stable average sales prices (ASPs).

In the surgical display market, larger screens with higher resolutions are becoming more common and affordable and many are already being installed in surgical rooms, as collaboration among medical professionals, both on-site and virtual, becomes more popular.

The report projected the fastest area of growth is expected among screens that are 60 inches and larger. Resolutions of 2 MP currently provide 74 percent of the revenue in the surgical display category, however, 8 MP displays are forecast to grow 83 percent by 2017.

"Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, creating new medical imaging procedures which require sophisticated high resolution and larger display solutions," Todd Fender, senior analyst of professional and commercial displays at NPD DisplaySearch, said in a statement. "It is this continued advancement of technology and increased demand due to an aging baby-boomer population that are the largest contributing factors to the forecasted growth."

In addition, several key trends in the flat panel display market, including the shift to LED backlights, large, high-resolution 4 MP and 6 MP displays that can be split, color displays that can accurately show both color and grayscale images, and the wide availability of 4K displays, is expected to have different impacts on the various segments of the medical imaging market.

"Larger high-resolution screens make it much easier for simultaneous viewing by multiple people and many are used as live teaching devices," Fender noted.

The report also warned that the demand in this market for the most popular screen sizes--19 inch and 22 inch-- is at the mercy of supply volume from panel vendors, since many no longer want to manufacture 4:3 and 5:4 aspect ratio displays, but would rather manufacture the more common 16:9 and 16:10 wide aspect displays.