The dynamics of the European economy are quite diverse, and even more so when looking into the healthcare systems across the nations. Back in November, Frost & Sullivan released a report commenting on how Europe was about to experience a large increase in the use of refurbished medical equipment due to limited hospital budgets across the continent, particularly in Southern Europe.
For perspective on how much growth we will see in this area, Frost & Sulllivan found that the market earned revenue of $417.6 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $582.3 million in 2019. The major goal behind this trend being that hospitals and health systems need to save money on their technologies, but still need to perform a high volume of procedures at a high level of quality. While the growth appears to be inevitable, Frost & Sullivan said that there are challenges present:
“The market, however, presents its challenges. For instance, reimbursement laws across some European regions, such as France, compel reimbursement to be cut by half if the equipment is older than five years. This forces some hospitals to purchase new equipment. Moreover, regulations in certain countries such as Romania and Bulgaria restrict hospitals from purchasing old equipment using state funded loans. Because almost all public hospitals are covered by the state, they opt for new systems over refurbished models.” – Frost & Sullivan, 12 November 2013
The health systems that cannot purchase refurbished equipment have other options to handle the increased demand for volume and quality of procedures. Many are looking at the ability to streamline processes by upgrading pieces of their imaging systems instead of purchasing entirely brand new ones.
The ability to move from analog to computed radiography (CR), or from CR to digital radiography (DR), has become easier and more affordable. This has allowed for radiology departments to improve their imaging processes and also not spend a large portion of their budgets all at once.
At Carestream, the phrase “Right for Today, Ready for Tomorrow,” is a mantra when it comes to X-ray solutions. Not only does it keep the focus on providing customers with the technologies needed to handle high volumes and provide top-notch image quality, but it also prepares them for any future upgrades needed without having to overhaul entire systems.
For example, a health system is working with CR equipment and is looking to make the move to DR, but can’t afford a brand new system. Instead of buying a complete DR system, the radiology department can purchase DR retrofit kits that are meant to convert CR systems to digital with the simple conversion to new software and wireless DR detectors. It is a quick, easy, and affordable for the facilities that are constrained by budgets, but must still provide the top level of quality and care to patients.
This video provides additional background about making the switch to DR.