Medical Automation Technologies, Products and Markets

Published - Jul 2009| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - HLC066A
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. market for medical automation technologies was worth an estimated $12 billion in 2008. This market is projected to grow to $13.1 billion in 2009 and to $23.2 billion by 2014, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2% over the next 5 years.
  • Therapeutic applications account for the largest share of the medical automation market, with 73% in 2008, declining slightly to 72% by 2014.
  • Diagnostic and monitoring applications represent about a quarter of the market, with $3 billion in sales in 2008. That is expected to rise to $3.3 billion in 2009 and to nearly $5.9 billion in 2014, for a CAGR of 12.4%.


The U.S. government and healthcare industry have embarked on a major effort to increase the efficiency of healthcare, with the twin objectives of containing costs and improving the quality of care. Information technology has been at the forefront of this effort; indeed, BCC Research recently completed a study of healthcare IT technologies, products, and market opportunities (Report HLC048B).
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 healthcare 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, has more flexibility to accommodate the complex tasks within the hospital, and can generate a reasonable return on investment.
The overall goal of this study is to identify and quantify the market opportunities associated with medical automation. In support of this goal, specific objectives of this report include:
  • Identifying the medical automation technologies with the greatest commercial potential over the next 5 years (2009 to 2014)
  • Estimating the market for these technologies in 2007 to 2008
  • 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 2014. 
The report is intended especially for healthcare automation suppliers, as well as government agencies, healthcare policy analysts and others seeking to understand the cost 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 the latter the market is likely to purchase, and at what price. 
As such, the report’s main audience is executive management, marketing and financial analysts. It is not written specifically for scientists and technologists, although its findings concerned the markets for their work, including the availability of government and corporate research funding for different technologies, and applications should interest them as well.
As indicated above, medical automation is closely related to healthcare IT, which is the subject of a companion BCC report, 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 for human intervention, or no such need at all.   Examples of such medical automation technologies include the following:
  • 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
  • Definitions
  • Medical automation technologies and applications
  • Enabling technologies
  • End-user segments
  • Market environment (legal and regulatory, standards, economic conditions, consumer attitudes)
  • Current (2007 and 2008) and projected market for medical automation technologies and products through 2014 
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 2008. With 2008 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2009 to 2014. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined 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 2008 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 of the healthcare and related industries, including: Microelectronic Medical Implants: Products, Technologies & Opportunities (HLC016C), Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery (HLC036C), Trends in the Noninvasive and Minimally Invasive Medical Device Market (HLC051D), Patient Monitoring (HLC038B), The Home Medical Equipment Market (HLC054A), and Healthcare Information Technology (HLC048B).
For more information on these and other BCC Research resources for the medical devices interest community, please refer to BCC’s Web site at
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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 its use.

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