Teleradiology is a branch of telemedicine in which transmission of radiological patient images using telecommunication systems is done from one location to another, over a distance to radiologists and physicians for consultation and diagnosis purposes. There exists a disequilibrium between the demand and accessibility of radiology diagnostic services. The United States is predicted to encounter an insufficiency of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. This imbalance is leading to the increased adoption of teleradiology services. It provides great utility for institutions wanting to limit the costs of a radiology specialist. Additionally, it is beneficial for institutions with a low number of patients needing such radiology consultancies. The technological advancement in this field of telemedicine has bridged the distance and reachability gap for rural areas where there are no radiology specialists.
Surging Demand for Radiology Consultancy Will Drive the Market Growth
There is a high demand for radiology consultancies but a dearth of such specialists. According to the World Health Organization, annually worldwide, more than 3600 million diagnostic radiology examinations are performed. This is one of the key factors for the growth of the teleradiology market in the coming years. Coupled with that is the increase in chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes hinting at an unfulfilled demand for skilled radiologists. The International Agency for Research on Cancer predicts that there were nearly 19.3 million new cancer cases in 2020, worldwide. Furthermore, there has been an increase in government expenditure on healthcare information services pointing towards the growth potential of the market.
There has been a significant increment in the number of imaging procedures conducted. This further hints at the expanding market size of the teleradiology market. There has also been an escalation in the adoption of cloud-based solutions prompting the growth of the market.
The growth of the teleradiology market is also owed to people becoming conscious of their health and needing second opinions on their diagnosis. Moreover, the situations of emergencies can be well taken care of through the use of this technology.
Digital diagnosis is gaining acceptance because of being cost-effective as compared to paying for a physical meeting with the radiologist. It is also quick and effective and has less turnaround time. So, there has been escalating focus of market leaders towards bringing innovation to digital diagnosis. This will lead to further growth in the market.
Data Security Concerns Will Hinder the Market Growth
Teleradiology requires the minimum infrastructure of broadband connections. However, there is low availability of such connections, especially in developing countries. Consequently, though being cost-effective, the poor people and a large population residing in rural areas are unable to take advantage offered by the technique.
Additionally, even for consulting through telecommunication, there is a shortage of skilled radiologists.
One of the major hindrances to the growth of the market is data security concerns. People are not confident enough regarding the maintenance of privacy of their data and, so, are reluctant to adopt the digital method of diagnosis. The teleradiology services and certain professionals are also unaware of the regulations imposed against the breach of privacy protocols.
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID – 19 Pandemic has had a positive impact on the teleradiology market. The demand for such services as chest X-rays and CT scans skyrocketed. People want expert’s opinions regarding the uncertainty of a better approach at handling the deadly situation. The number of consultancies required against the number of specialists was huge, the professionals are under immense pressure, so the physicals appointments were out of the question. The regulations of social distancing imposed further pushed the people towards the adoption of digital diagnosis.
The governments across the nations increased their healthcare expenditures and promoted eHealth to curtail the spread of the virus.
Huge investments are being made for Research and Development in teleradiology to combat the challenges of the market. Government incentives and a surge in demand prompted the key players to look for innovation in the technique to boost the market growth.
In February 2021, Telerad Tech Pvt. Ltd, an AI-enabled teleradiology software global provider announced a business expansion. The company is entering four more countries – Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Israel, and Egypt.
North America is expected to account for the largest share in the teleradiology market owing to favoring government initiatives, technological advancement, and the rising number of healthcare facilities. Moreover, a high prevalence rate of chronic diseases leading to greater adoption of digital diagnosis.
The Asia-pacific region is predicted to be the fastest-growing region due to the increasing infrastructure in the countries. A significant share of the population in these developing countries is below the poverty line who would choose the cost-effective diagnosis method over the on-site expensive one.