Teleradiology is a comprehensive part of telehealth services. Teleradiology refers to electronic transmission of radiology images between two locations via technology for emergency services or second opinion. This service bridges the gap between the imbalance of demand and supply of expert radiologists and diagnostic services. Initially, the image transfer process was tedious, time consuming, and provided unreliable image clarity and quality. Currently, teleradiology shows the rapid progression in image processing and transmission tools and technologies. Hence, radiology experts believe that the teleradiology market will provide lucrative business opportunities in the near future.
Western Europe is a developed market and accounts for about 70% to 75% share of the teleradiology market in Europe. Consistent evolution of information and communication technologies and shortage of expert radiologists across Europe are likely to drive the market during the forecast period. Furthermore, cost effective solutions, emergency coverage, and increasing number of imaging procedures are anticipated to boost the teleradiology market in Western Europe. However, complex regulations, language barrier, and high cost of technology (initial investment) are expected to restrain the teleradiology market in the region.
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The teleradiology market in Western Europe has been segmented based on modality into X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear imaging. X-ray teleradiology was the largest segment in 2014. The segment is likely to maintain its market share during forecast period owing to increasing number of X-ray procedures and need for expert radiologist advice because of complexity of images due to advanced technology. Ultrasound teleradiology accounted for the second largest share of the market due to development of 3-D and 4-D ultrasound platforms, absence of ionizing radiation, and increasing reliability of receiving clear images. However, CT teleradiology is considered a highly lucrative segment during the forecast period from 2015 to 2023 due to its ability to visualize complex body parts such as brain, lungs, and cardiac abnormalities, and favorable reimbursement policies.
Geographically, the teleradiology market in Western Europe has been segmented into six regions: the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Rest of Western Europe. The U.K. and Germany together accounted for the largest share of the market. The U.K. accounted for the largest share of the teleradiology market in Western Europe in 2014. The market in the country is likely to witness the highest growth during forecast period owing to rapid development in digital image processing technology, high implementation of picture archiving communication systems (PACS), and presence of major market players along with a number of other domestic service providers. Germany was the second largest market in 2014 due to lack of expert radiologists and government initiatives to encourage the teleradiology market. However, the market in Germany is anticipated to expand at a slow growth rate as compared to that in the U.K. due to stringent cross-border regulations and high cost associated with teleradiology.
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