Signify Premium Insight: The Fate of the Five
Published: March 2, 2022
As the world emerges from the clutches of the coronavirus pandemic, the turbulence that has characterised the last few years has lingered. From supply chain headaches and shortages of critical components to the inevitable economic repercussions caused by Russia’s barbaric assault on Ukraine, stability is in short supply. While less dramatic, the medical imaging markets are also in a period of flux. Some vendors have enjoyed unexpected windfalls from Covid-related products, while others have seen sales, at times, decimated due to restrictions at providers. Furthermore, medical imaging sits on the cusp of the widespread adoption of several hugely impactful technologies, including machine learning, cloud computing and data-driven healthcare.
How vendors respond to these circumstances could define their fortunes for years to come; below is our assessment of where each of the five largest medical imaging vendors (GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthineers, Philips, Fujifilm and Canon) stand, and where their opportunities lie.
Portfolio & Portfolio Integration
From an imaging modality perspective, GE has among the broadest product portfolio of any of the top five vendors, with strength across a broad range and the ability to sell into both the wards of large academics and integrated networks, and at lower tiers and into emerging economies. Unlike some of its peers, GE has no single clinical or product sectors where it dominates, or offers products of unique quality, but as an accomplished generalist can meet the needs of a wide range of customers.
The vendor’s digital strategy, meanwhile, is less robust. While there is still the breadth of capability offered, and good coverage of the core imaging IT products, GE’s success in the integration of these separate products has been less successful. The vendor has increasingly recognised this issue, as evidenced by the release of products such as the enterprise imaging-focused Edison True PACS software, but this response has been relatively sluggish. The vendor has held a large share of the market for a long time, but that share is slowly being eroded. Whether GE can stem this customer leakage is dependent on how well it can deliver on the newer, better connected, data-driven facets of imaging IT. If it is unsuccessful, these weaknesses, which will become increasingly more important, will cause customers to look elsewhere, a concern for the division given it plans to be spun-out in 2023.
New Digital Technologies
AI is set to be among the most transformative technologies in medical imaging in the coming years, and GE is treating it as such. The vendor has taken a centralised approach to AI development, using a common team and platform (Edison AI) to efficiently deliver useful AI tools to the different modality departments. This has meant it has focused less on creating stand-alone AI products per se, but instead has been able to efficiently and effectively offer AI functionality to all of GE’s imaging modality teams, while also leveraging its strong position and channel in Advanced Visualisation software. The company was also early to market with a radiology AI platform, Edison Open AI Orchestrator, to support the deployment of native and third-party AI applications.