Since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010, the U.S. government and healthcare industry have stepped up their efforts to increase the efficiency of health care, with the twin objectives of containing costs and improving the quality of care. Information technology is at the forefront of this effort; indeed, BCC Research recently completed a study of healthcare IT technologies, products, and market opportunities (Report HLC048C).
However, healthcare IT is just one segment of the broader field of medical automation, a field that many experts believe will revolutionize the way medical care is provided. Automated delivery of health care can contain costs, reduce errors, and improve outcomes.
Major improvements in production efficiency and product quality have been demonstrated through automation in factories. Medical automation will borrow many of the principles developed in factory automation and apply them to the medical environment. Automation will have to demonstrate, however, that it is safe for patients, that it has more flexibility to accommodate the complex tasks within the hospital, and that it can generate a reasonable return on investment.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The report is an update of an earlier report published by BCC in 2009, and its goal is to identify and quantify the current and future market opportunities associated with medical automation. In support of this goal, here is a list of its specific objectives:
- Identifying the medical automation technologies with the greatest commercial potential over the next 5 years (2011 to 2016).
- Estimating the market for these technologies in 2010.
- Analyzing the technical, economic, and other demand drivers for these products, and other prerequisites of success in these markets.
- Projecting the potential U.S. markets for these technologies through 2016.
The report is intended especially for healthcare automation suppliers, as well as government agencies, healthcare policy analysts, and others seeking to understand the costs and preconditions for success of healthcare automation initiatives. Although the report is structured around specific technologies, it is largely nontechnical in nature. That is, it is concerned less with theory and jargon than with what works, how much of what works the market is likely to purchase, and at what price.
As such, the report’s main audience is composed of executive managers and marketing and financial analysts. It is not written specifically for scientists and technologists, although its findings are concerned with the markets for their work, including the availability of government and corporate research funding for different technologies, and applications that should interest them as well.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
As indicated above, medical automation is closely related to healthcare IT, which is the subject of a companion BCC report, HLC048C Healthcare Information Technology. However, for the purposes of this report, medical automation technologies are defined as technologies for the electromechanical control or operation of diagnostic or therapeutic processes or systems or training of healthcare professionals, which result in a reduced need or eliminate the need for human intervention. Examples of such medical automation technologies are listed:
- Automated health assessment and monitoring technologies
- Automated medical imaging and image analysis
- Automated prescription fulfillment devices
- Automated therapeutic (nonsurgical) devices
- Robotic and computer-assisted surgical equipment
- Automated laboratory testing and analysis
- Automated healthcare logistics, resource, and patient tracking
- Automated medical training
The study format includes the following major elements:
- Executive summary
- Medical automation technologies and applications
- Enabling technologies
- End user segments
- Market environment (legal and regulatory, standards, economic conditions, consumer attitudes)
- Baseline (2010) and projected market for medical automation technologies and products through 2016
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in preparing this study. The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from developers, suppliers, integrators, and users of medical automation technologies. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources, such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the baseline market estimates contained in this report.
The base year for analysis and projection is 2010. With 2010 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2011 through 2016. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts along with our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective. The analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the section on detailed market projections.
All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2010 constant dollars.
The author of this report is Andrew McWilliams. Mr. McWilliams, a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm of 43rd Parallel LLC, is the author of several other BCC Research studies relating to healthcare automation, including the previous edition of this report (HLC048B Healthcare Information Technology); HLC016D Microelectronic Medical Implants: Products, Technologies & Opportunities, HLC036C Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery, HLC051F The Market for Minimally Invasive Medical Devices, HLC038C Patient Monitoring, HLC054B Home Medical Equipment: Technologies and Global Markets, and HLC014D Telemedicine: Opportunities for Medical and Electronic Providers.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or from its use.