According to a new report, automation technologies and integrated systems are set to fuel growth in the clinical laboratory analyser markets, accelerating the movement towards increased workstation consolidation and more streamlined procedures.
The prediction comes as the latest analysis predicts the US Clinical Laboratory Analyser market to be reach $1.06 billion (€1.3 billion) in 2004 and rising to $1.30 billion by 2011.
"Retaining market share in this space in the future will depend on providing solutions that address customer concerns over personnel shortages, higher testing volumes, space constraints, cost pressures, and workflow management," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst, Silvia Cerqueira.
"With the clinical laboratory analyser markets experiencing a trend toward testing consolidation, there is an increasing demand for integrated systems with expanded capabilities."
As a result, manufacturers are striving to design smaller, fully automated, and highly sophisticated systems at the lowest possible cost.
The report found that healthcare organisations have begun insisting that physicians be able to prove the medical necessity of all diagnostics in an effort to reduce spending.
The multitude of tests that were traditionally ordered to provide a fair assessment of a patient's general health status are now discouraged due to increasing costs.
As a result, there has been some decline in the volume of tests ordered, which has correspondingly resulted in a slightly reduced demand for clinical laboratory analysers.
The report predicted in the future the highly anticipated introduction of new and improved instruments promises to continue fuelling new product placements and generating demand in this fairly mature market.
Clinical laboratory analyser manufacturers are focusing on generating revenue and sustaining growth by introducing systems that are easy to use, reduce overall laboratory costs, and optimise laboratory procedures.
Indeed, the market is developing innovative solutions to address growing customer demands providing increased value to laboratory operations.
"As clinical laboratory testing capabilities become increasingly sophisticated and healthcare institutions continue to recognise greater value in these essential technologies for the improvement of disease management and patient success rates, the rising demand for quick and accurate results will surely inflict greater pressure on clinical laboratory operations," said Cerqueira.
The clinical laboratory diagnostics market currently faces significant challenges, including increased lab decentralisation as testing capabilities move to the point of care (POC) and the constant pressure imposed by healthcare cost containment efforts.
More and more hospitals are beginning to realise many valuable added benefits in bringing diagnostic testing to the patient's bedside, where they can conduct instant analysis, thus reducing the demand for tests performed in centralised laboratories.
"In recent years, increased competition from alternate technologies, such as advanced point of care systems and home testing devices, has begun threatening the market for clinical laboratory analysers," commented Cerqueira.
The report: "U.S. Clinical Laboratory Analyser Markets," is available from Frost and Sullivan's website