Healthcare sector is seeing a sharp growth in many sectors, one of which is radiology. With emerging trends and technology, it is interesting to see the tremendous scope that this sector has to offer. The world of imaging and technology is constantly evolving and thus opening up to a vast new world of innovations.
Radiology gains relevance in the context of diagnosis, the first step towards treatment and general healthcare. With a perceptible shift surfacing in the world, from prescriptive to preventive healthcare, access to quality healthcare is gathering greater importance than ever.
Tapping to this vast scope of advanced-diagnostics-at-affordable-prices, radiology industry is witnessing an overhaul with respect to launching cost-effective imaging equipments in the secondary and tertiary healthcare segments.
Indian radiology market is multi-segmented. From catering to the demands of private imaging centres, large hospitals and academic centers to small diagnostic clinics and government health centers, the Indian radiology segment does not have a clear divide between the high end and low end markets. There could be a clear upsurge in bulk purchases of radiology equipments in the growth sector comprising of these low-end markets. Also, another interesting trend increasingly seen among the buyers has been the demand for adequate and upgradable radiology technology rather than the erstwhile approach of procuring everything that is latest in the market.
As we look into the future of imaging, Hybrid imaging is a technique that is gaining momentum. It is referred to as the fusion of two or more imaging modalities to form a new technique. With the combination of different modalities, a refined and more powerful technique comes into formation. This not only improves the accuracy of a diagnostic test but also reduces the radiation exposure for patients.
Radiology, like much of healthcare sector today, is embracing a consumer-centric approach as well. There is an increasing demand for customized screening as per one’s specific healthcare requirements with the aid of up-to-date technology. New techniques like the Digital Breast Tomosynthesis could improve the chances of cancer detection as opposed to existing techniques. Mammography advancements have shot up immensely, emphasizing primary importance to timely diagnosis.
Another new trend has been the transfer of clinical information across distances and specialties in healthcare. Applying this to radiology is Tele-radiology.
Within the ambit of tele-radiology, it is easy to share patient information like X-rays, Ultrasounds, and MRIs etc with other physicians and radiologists from one location to another for examination. This outsourcing of information improves patient-care since it is a highly time-saving process and therefore considered to be a growth technology which is growing approximately at 15% ever year.
Multimedia Enhanced Radiology Reporting (MERR) has also witnessed a spur in demand owing to the efficiency that it provides. MERR combines visual images as well as text based quantitative analysis for better content dissemination to physicians.
In radiology, it is extremely vital to establish a reliable link between the diagnostic centre and the physician. With MERR gaining prominence, patients will also be able to acquire a detailed understanding of their health statistics. It provides the physicians with lesion analyses and graphs that again help in improving patient care.
Reduction of radiation doses becoming a greater focus these days, lot of innovation is also happening in the field of imaging. With Phase contrast X-ray, imaging technology will be explored clinically in an extensive manner. Though it might take more time to become widely used, it has the potential to reduce radiation doses by many folds. This technology has much scope in the near future if employed correctly. Additionally, radiology is also looking to widen its reach within the realm of personalized medicine. In order to cater to the needs of different groups of patients, radiologists are looking for a better surveillance of diseases. From the location, occurrence and severity to disease treatment, radiology is going to be making crucial breakthroughs.
We have also recognized the need to bring in cost effective radiology solutions for better access and affordability in healthcare. Techniques like using a single wireless digital radiography for various other machines can make imaging inexpensive.
Major challenges here are with respect to coming up with better connectivity among sectors. This is important because it paves way for a holistic improvement in patient care. Time and resources have to be spent in making sure new technologies are reliable enough to be extensively put into action. Apart from the patients, radiologists themselves need equipments to shield them from the harmful effects of radiation. Expenditure has to be undertaken by the government in making sure radiologists and their needs are better taken care of. With much growth potential and quality trends, the radiology market is set to make some major changes in the healthcare sector.
–Dr. GSK Velu Chairman & Managing Director, Trivitron Healthcare