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Why the handheld ultrasound equipment market will usher in substantial growth?

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Update time : 2021-08-31 10:53:18
Why the handheld ultrasound equipment market will usher in substantial growth?

Ten years have passed since the first handheld ultrasonic scanner, and the handheld ultrasonic scanner does not seem to meet market expectations. Taking year of 2017 as an example, in the global US$8.9 billion ultrasound equipment market, sales of handheld ultrasound equipment were less than 4%.

The early development speed is slow. The reason is the high cost of handheld devices and limited performance.

With the continuous improvement of products over the years and the continuous micro-innovation of the entire market, handheld ultrasound devices are beginning to release their own value.

Cardiologists are the early users of hand-held ultrasound. Hand-held devices can be used as initial screening tools in clinics, bedside rounds and intervention wards. Other users are more emergency doctors, especially emergency medical staff, intensive care personnel in the intensive care unit, and military personnel.

Subsequently, handheld ultrasound scanner has gained a certain degree of recognition in procedural ultrasound (including vascular access and anesthesia). Recently, MSK experts have begun to use handheld ultrasound in office examinations, intraoperative imaging, and field medicine.

In addition to the continuous expansion of the use of handheld ultrasound in the traditional POCUS market, doctors in various medical specialties (such as urology, gastrointestinal and vascular) have also begun to generate more demand. Experts in the department are using hand-held ultrasound for rapid inspection and preliminary screening, as a more powerful vehicle-mounted system auxiliary method in the hospital department.

The ever-expanding customer base, coupled with affordable prices, will increase the global sales of handheld ultrasound by more than 50% in 2019.

However, there are more and more scenes using ultrasound outside the hospital, which also brings new challenges.

The first is the reimbursement problem. In most countries, the reimbursable expenses are limited. Even in the reimbursable countries, department doctors usually do not have a corresponding reporting process to ensure that the medical examination meets the billing requirements. In addition, authentication, data security and quality assurance issues (for image acquisition and interpretability) also present certain challenges.

Although handheld ultrasound devices may continue to be mainstreamed, many organizations lack the IT infrastructure needed to provide seamless patient care between the office and the hospital.

Therefore, the entire industry must properly handle and overcome these challenges to ensure the quality of care and enable handheld ultrasound to reach its full potential.

The next wave: primary care physicians

The primary care scene, to a large extent, is still an untapped market for handheld ultrasound, and it may also be the biggest opportunity.

Statistics show that there are more than 250,000 primary care doctors in the United States alone. So far, hand-held ultrasound used by primary care doctors is mainly in developed countries, but in recent years it has gradually begun to be used in low-income and middle-income countries. Among the latter, handheld ultrasound plays an important role in medical imaging-assisted diagnosis, and it is mainly used in heart screening, pregnancy screening, and diagnosis of respiratory and abdominal diseases.

We also believe that handheld ultrasound will be increasingly used in urban primary care.

In the past few years, the price of handheld scanners has dropped significantly, and for many primary care doctors, this is a cost-effective option.

In order to solve the problem of general practitioners’ lack of relevant skills, handheld scanner companies are striving to simplify their operating procedures, while at the same time connecting novice users with experts in different locations through two-way audio and video calls to provide comprehensive remote ultrasound services.

The latest generation of handheld scanners has many presets for common examination types. With the embedding of AI, even doctors with no scanning experience can capture high-quality images. Ultrasound scanning guided by artificial intelligence will help users identify body parts and correctly position the transducer to maximize image quality. Artificial intelligence will also play an increasingly important role in image interpretation, providing doctors with automated measurement, anomaly detection, and diagnostic decision support.