The Dramatic Growth of Medical Automation

Medical automation market is experiencing a dramatic growth, according to market researchers. Grand View Research estimates the global market’s growth to reach $79.4 billion by 2024.

The Use of Smart Technology in Medical Automation Is Propelling the Market

Control systems and ever-increasingly sophisticated medical-grade computers, portable devices, connected IoT devices and software solutions that power them are boosting the industry.

With various medical processes automated, the medical industry reduces the number of errors, contains the costs and streamlines the overall process of medical practices with significantly improved results. The diagnostics and therapy automated equipment propel the market, and the growth is expected to double in the upcoming decade.

In 2015, the medical automation market worldwide was valued at $34.21 billion. The researchers attribute the critical growth to a number of factors.

Accuracy and Reproducibility

The demand for machine-level accuracy and reproducibility in medical procedures and during other medical services delivery, like patient monitoring, is the prime factor fueling the market. Automated systems and smart devices powered by specialized software provide for undeniable advantages. The highly accurate surgical technology and automated defibrillators top the list, with the automated processes in laboratories and pharmacies following suit.

The tedious tasks of sampling, quantity and quality monitoring, labeling and packaging, scanning, and tracking have become automated throughout the industry. This, in turn, has significantly reduced the human efforts and human error, as well as increased the accuracy, reproducibility, and speed. Now more than ever, the medical industry relies on automated systems and smart technologies for productivity, growth, research and evolution.

Technological novelties such as automated material handling and robotic surgery systems have proven their efficiency and further help the market advance.

Mortality Rates

Lamentably, the increased speed, accuracy, and reliability is not the only factor. The World Health Organization reports chronic diseases leading the mortality factors chart worldwide. The cardiovascular diseases are the prime mortality factor, with diabetes, arthritis, cancer and respiratory diseases are accountable for up to 60% of the deaths worldwide. According to NCBI, 40.5% of U.S. population will face one or more cardiovascular diseases. Diabetes alone has skyrocketed over the past three decades – from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Hence, the increase in the number of chronic diseases creates more need for automated equipment and smart technology to help the industry cater to the increasing needs of the population.

The increases in the geriatric population in the U.S. and Europe in general, and elderly people with chronic conditions in particular, further amplify the need for the medical industry to automate its many processes.

Traceability, Tracking, and Patient Safety

Traceability and tracking, when enhanced with the automated proceedings and smart technology based on barcode scanners and machine vision in hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies further improve the experience – both patients’ and medical professionals’. The faster and more accurate automated medication dispensing, retrieval or storage enforced with automated tracking and traceability ensures the patient safety by reducing the human error.

Cost Reduction

The reduction of operational costs is another factor that contributes to the growth of the medical automation market. The robust, feature-rich and reliable hardware has long life-cycle and provides reliable functionality for years, capable of supporting frequent and critical software updates. The software updates, in their turn, bring innovative functionality and enhanced data security to comply with increasingly rigorous HIPAA regulations.

Growing Markets

Combined, a one-time investment in a robust hardware and software solution provides a long-term expandable and upgradeable functionality – the benefits many organizations have acknowledged. Their positive experience helps the market of medical automation advance in the new markets in Asia-Pacific region, where the report predicts a healthy growth. India, Japan, China, and Taiwan are expected to increase the rate of adoption of automated systems in the medical industry in the upcoming decade. The region is rapidly improving the healthcare infrastructure while the patient awareness is increasing, as the number of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer increases. The growth is especially noticeable in large cities and is further supported by state agencies, such as National Patient Safety Agency in India.

North America is currently the leader of automated systems implementation in medicine, accounting for over 43% of the market share, with the European countries following suit.

Government Support and Regulatory Pressure

The increased government investment and regulatory bodies pressure on the industry add to the number of factors affecting the growth of the automated systems and smart technologies market worldwide. In the U.S., the rising government support for the healthcare and life sciences sector and clinical research fuels the market. In Europe, the state bodies such as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, responsible for validating automated systems for pharmacies, is expected to boost the market.

Applications and End-Users

Application-wise, 35% of the segment accounts for the therapeutic automation: portable imaging devices, defibrillators, dispensing systems and minimally invasive robotic surgery systems. The benefits of such automation are generous – better efficiency and accuracy of the procedures, improved patient safety and satisfaction, reduced costs in the long-term perspective.

Finally, hospitals and diagnostic centers account for 25% of the end-users of the automated technology in the medical market. The pharmacies and laboratories keep adopting the automated devices and smart technology for diagnostics and treatment, tracking and traceability. The medical training and logistics segment are also estimated to show a 10% Compound Annual Growth Rate.

This is an exciting time for the industry, as technological innovation fuels the evolution of the medical industry, automating the tedious tasks and freeing up the human work hours for more productive work, reducing the costs, enhancing the patient safety and satisfaction. As the technology evolves, so does the market, opening new, previously unexplored opportunities.

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