North American cardiovascular PACS market to reach $670M by 2014
The North American cardiovascular image management systems (CV-PACS) market earned revenues of $272 million in 2007 and is estimated to reach $670 million by 2014, according to new analysis from market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Providers of CV-PACS appear set to benefit from the growing need as their products integrate radiology and nuclear cardiology, and offer more advanced structured reporting capabilities, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Although most cath and echo labs in North America have adopted digital x-ray technology, digital echo, or analog to digital converters, the image data from these core modalities are often managed independently. This causes their respective workflows to remain disparate, thereby offering many opportunities in the CV-PACS markets to replace stand-alone solutions with multi-modality platforms, the analysis found.

“Currently, single-modality image management solutions supporting each type of lab constitute silos of information, which prevents the exchange of information with other systems in order to create a unified view of the patient,” said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Nadim Daher. “By consolidating image management for several modalities onto a single platform, multi-modality solutions can aid the formation of a single integrated system, and enable the use of advanced workstations that support the new standards of cardiovascular care.”

To find optimum uptake, the novel CV-PACS technology must be capable of replacing and/or integrating with the legacy infrastructure in cath and echo labs, Frost & Sullivan said. Meanwhile, the firm encouraged labs to share common grounds with nuclear imaging and radiology by deploying enterprise-wide image management systems.

Additionally, cardiology IT systems have to show further integration and inter-operability to consolidate images from various sources and other enterprise systems, according to the analysis. As a result, Frost & Sullivan said that they play a central role as integration platforms for larger facilities to help develop patient-centric CV care processes and records.

While offering novel capabilities and integrated solutions, the firm said that CV image management system vendors will have to strategize to deal with the increasing levels of competition and more complex sales cycles.

Frost & Sullivan said that new business plans are crucial, as they must deliver on several fronts to help customers meet mounting challenges. Vendors must pay greater attention when assisting customers with improving productivity and departmental efficiencies, by helping them support higher imaging procedure volumes while simultaneously reducing costs and turnaround times.

Apart from using these product capabilities to attract larger contract opportunities, the analysis said that vendors must also educate prospective customers about the benefits of enterprise-wide systems. Specifically, they should proactively help customers overcome political restraints, align the incentives of enterprise stakeholders, and cater to every CV sub-specialty, according to the firm. Additionally, vendors need to give top priority to service due to the complexity of their solutions.

“While CV-PACS solutions are much less hardware-based than in the past, they offer more sophisticated software components and require a larger professional service component," Daher said. “The CV-PACS market is fast becoming more service-oriented, thereby challenging vendors to increase profit margins by providing cost-effective implementation and support services to a growing customer base.”