Report: Cost savings will drive ECG global market to nearly $160M by 2015
The global electrocardiography (ECG) market is expected to reach $157.9 million in 2015 with an annual growth rate of 3.7 percent, compared with a market valued at $122.2 million in 2008, according to estimates from market research firm GlobalData.

"Significant operational cost reduction that can be achieved through the adoption of ECG data-management systems by the hospitals and technological innovation are expected to drive the market," the report stated.

The researchers found that hospitals can gain significant operational cost reduction through the adoption of ECG data-management systems.

"Considerable costs are associated with the manual storage of large volumes of patient ECG data, administration and transaction," they wrote. "Savings of $2 per ECG test can translate into $600 million in savings for the hospitals, considering 300 million ECG tests are performed annually in the United States."

The firm said that healthcare infrastructure growth is expected to be in the low-single digits in 2009 in the United States, despite the economic downturn.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, a total of $41 billion was spent on the construction of hospitals and clinics. More than 3,000 projects (including hospitals, outpatient clinics) are currently under development in the United States. Approximately 20 percent of the existing hospitals are planning on facility modernization.

GlobalData also noted that the market is stimulated by the trend in new hospital construction, and particularly, the increasing number of specialty hospitals (with cardiovascular, cancer and orthopedic in the forefront).

"Expanding into emerging economies like China, India, Russia and Brazil should be a key priority for ECG data-management companies in the future," the firm stated.

The researchers said that China and India are growing economically at a rate of 5 to 7 percent, in spite of the global downturn. These countries are also the most populous countries, and have a high incidence of cardiac diseases.

The authors said that emerging economies have established healthcare facilities that can afford ECG data-management systems. An added advantage in emerging economies is that a good percentage of the hospitals are run by the government.

The Chinese government recently issued a stimulus package of $100 million for improving the healthcare system. GlobalData noted that GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare have a strong presence in the Chinese ECG market, and "should be able to capitalize on the stimulus package."

According to the authors, GE has a 50 percent market share in the global ECG data-management systems market. Philips, with 24 percent, and Cardiac Science, with 12 pecent, are the other leading players in the market. GE has lost some of its market share in the last five years to younger companies such as Mortara Instrument and Suzuken Kenz, the authors noted.