Enterprise image archiving market should double by 2018

Despite the fact that the growth rate of medical imaging procedures has flattened over the last several years, a new Frost & Sullivan report has found that the growth in image data volume continues to accelerate, creating solid growth prospects for the imaging IT market over the next several years.

Mounting image data volume requirements are being driven by increasing average study volumes, evolving regulatory guidelines, and a growing imaging patient population, according to the report, These image data volume requirements are increasing to such an extent, the report says, that it is "creating no less than a 'Big Data' explosion in imaging."

According to Frost & Sullivan, the vendor-neutral archive, which earned revenues of $110.5 million in 2011, should reach $210 million by 2018. In addition, the enterprise picture archiving and communications system market earned revenues of $77.4 million in 2011--a figure that should more than double to $168.2 million by 2018. Revenue growth rates for both these markets should reach double figures annually over the next seven years, the report says.

"Providers no longer view the continuance of expanding monolithic and disparate image archives for each imaging department as a sustainable approach, as storage volume requirements for the diversifying imaging enterprise continue to increase exponentially," Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Nadim Daher, in a statement.

According to Daher, overall storage and archiving volume requirements for U.S. medical imaging data will surpass the 1 exabyte mark in 2016, "which marks medical imaging's definitive entry into 'Big Data' territory."

While the RIS and PACS markets continue to deal with slower growth landscape, medical imaging informatics vendors are taking advantage of a market for enterprise medical image archiving that--although relatively small--represents a dynamic growth area, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The report found that providers are taking two differing approaches to the implementation of enterprise-oriented storage and archiving strategies by either utilizing PACS-neutral archives from VNAs or relying on enterprise PACS archives proved by entrenched PACS vendors. "In both cases, the new technology paradigm that these technologies allow consists of a centralized archiving infrastructure on the back end, combined with distributed viewing via enterprise viewers on the front end," the report states.

VNAs have been gradually expanding into the market place over the last 10 years, Daher said, but market adoption is accelerating with the major PACS vendors moving more aggressively into enterprise archives. "In the wake of ongoing IT consolidation of distributed hospital organizations, enterprise medical image archives are making their way into the marketplace, creating a sizeable growth segment for imaging informatics," he said.

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