Women's health market trends

By Julie Johnson

From the July 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

According to the website breastcancer.org, approximately one in eight U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. alone. An important step in the early detection of breast cancer is a digital mammography exam. With this ongoing need in the arena of women’s health, the mammography market has remained very active over the past several years, and interest in 3D mammography has continued to grow since its introduction by Hologic in 2011.

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Multiple studies continue to show that 3D mammograms locate more cancers and also diminish the number of false positives. 3D mammography, or digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), generates a series of 3D images using X-rays. Multiple low-dose images are taken from different angles around the breast and are used to produce a 3D image. While many facilities still use 2D systems as their primary screening tool, there has been a lack of interest over the past 24 months in dedicated 2D systems; this market segment makes up less than 10% of MD Buyline’s mammography quoting activity. The majority of 2D system quotes are seen from smaller facilities and those with budget constraints that are looking to the lower price point of a 2D system while retaining the ability to upgrade to 3D in the future.

The mammography market includes only a handful of vendors, in a very competitive environment. MD Buyline fully analyzes the following vendors for comprehensive market, technology, and pricing information: Hologic, Siemens Healthineers, GE Healthcare, and Fuji Medical Systems USA. The most recent addition to the lineup of DBT systems is the Siemens Healthineers MAMMOMAT Revelation system with 50-degree HD Breast Tomosynthesis for screening, diagnostic imaging, and 3D HD breast biopsy.

Customers in the market for any mammography or women’s health equipment purchase will typically remain loyal to their current in-house vendor, unless the market can provide a new technology or lower price point to convince them to make a significant change. This generally requires input from a capital equipment team that often includes technologists, department directors, radiologists, and administrators. Upgradeability is also a big factor for those centers that do not currently have the budget for a highly configured DBT system. They must weigh the cost of upgrading an older unit against purchasing a more expensive configuration upfront. Some facilities are looking to refurbished units to reduce costs, but MD Buyline does not currently see as many quotes for used equipment in mammography as in other imaging modalities.

The market trend continues to see mammography systems that are highly configured with CAD, 2D synthesized imaging software, advanced workstations, and integrated breast biopsy, along with value-oriented systems with more basic configurations. Many MD Buyline customers choose to bundle associated technologies such as biopsy systems, bone densitometers, and digital specimen radiography systems to facilitate additional cost savings. Hologic is currently the only mammography vendor that MD Buyline tracks for both biopsy and digital specimen radiography systems. Hologic also offers a prone 3D biopsy table that has become a popular alternative to its 2D upright add-on. Siemens’ new MAMMOMAT Revelation has an incorporated specimen scanner, InSpect, that eliminates the need for a separate scanner. Depending on your facility’s needs, mammography vendors offer several different configuration options and accessories to meet your challenging workflow requirements.

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