The global market for specialty picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate of 6%, according to a new report from marketsandmarkets. Specialty PACS are used to store, distribute and manage medical images within hospitals and clinics and enable doctors to access a patient's imaging records and history from anywhere in the facility.
Key drivers propelling the growth of the specialty PACS market include the increasing geriatric population and rising incidence of diseases, benefits of specialty PACS in improving workflow efficiency and enhancing patient care, government initiatives to boost adoption of healthcare IT solutions, rising healthcare spending and medical imaging volumes globally, and growing usage of advanced medical imaging equipment. However, budget constraints faced by hospitals and imaging centers in many countries could restrain wider uptake.
Among the different specialty PACS segments, ophthalmology PACS is forecast to see the fastest growth over the next five years. Rising eye diseases and vision disorders, increasing number of ophthalmic procedures, and new innovations in ophthalmology devices underpin the strong outlook for ophthalmology PACS solutions going forward.
Currently, the on-premise deployment model accounts for the major share of the specialty PACS market. The high degree of customization and flexibility offered by on-premise solutions compared to cloud-based systems is driving its greater adoption. However, the web/cloud-based segment could record faster growth in the coming years owing to lower upfront costs and easier maintenance.
Geographically, North America commanded the largest piece of the global specialty PACS market in 2018, powered by the region's vast healthcare infrastructure, abundant medical imaging volumes, aging population, and rapid uptake of advanced imaging technologies. But the Asia Pacific market is poised to witness the highest compound annual growth rate over the 2019-2024 period, thanks largely to rising chronic disease prevalence, increasing awareness of early diagnosis benefits, and surging medical imaging procedural volumes in the region's major countries like China and India.
The leading companies operating in the global specialty PACS space include Merge Healthcare, McKesson Corporation, Agfa Healthcare, Carestream Health, Philips Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, among others. Mergers & acquisitions, new product launches, R&D investments and global expansion constitute some of the key strategic moves adopted by these players to cement their market positions.
For instance, Merge Healthcare continues to grow its specialty PACS product portfolio and widen its global footprint through strategic partnerships, collaborations and acquisitions. Its latest imaging partnership deals, announced in June 2016, are anticipated to significantly strengthen the company's imaging technologies business.
Overall, with rising healthcare expenditure worldwide, growing reliance on medical imaging for screening, diagnosis and treatment planning across various clinical specialties, and continuing technology advancements in imaging hardware and software, the global specialty PACS market looks well positioned to register steady gains over the coming years.