Market opportunities in the women’s healthcare imaging and nutrition segment are ripe, especially in developing nations where awareness of preventive medicine is rising. Issues afflicting women include breast cancer, urinary tract infections, anemia, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis. In response, the healthcare industry is progressively employing early diagnosis through screening and prescribing preventive solutions in the form of nutrients supplemented through diet.
Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Technology Trends in Women’s Health, explores developments in the fields of health nutrients and health imaging for women. Manufacturers are trying to customize nutrients according to a woman’s lifecycle since the needs of prenatal, postnatal and menopausal women are different. The main health nutrients women consume are calcium, iron and vitamin D.
In imaging, technological advancements will focus on platforms that:
- Reduce the ionizing radiation dose;
- Provide physiological image data to highlight cellular activities indicative of cancer, rather than only using anatomical data;
- Allow image acquisition and viewing in more than two spatial dimensions;
‘Customized innovation is essential in the women’s health sector,’ said Technical Insights Industry Analyst Darshana De. ‘In addition to age-related nutritional requirements, a woman’s health needs vary according to geographic and consumer preferences. Demand is high for natural supplements, strong scientific evidence of health claims and minimal side effects. For instance, the constipation and gastrointestinal symptoms caused by available calcium tablets are driving innovations within the industry to provide a more natural form of calcium.’
In the women’s imaging segment, digitization is a sweeping trend. Hospitals and screening centres worldwide are digitizing systems to optimize workflows and enhance image clarity. Government initiatives are pushing several advances. A U.S. federal bill (HR 3102) mandates breast density reporting on a national level to generate interest in newer technologies improving image screening accuracy.
‘Tomosynthesis will become the primary screening modality; it offers the ability to view slices of the breast to better differentiate actual lesions from areas of overlapping dense tissue,’ noted De.
Similarly, government-initiated screening programs, designed to diagnose osteoporosis in developed countries, are encouraging bone density scans and boosting the sales of densitometry systems. However, the high initial investment for scanning systems and reimbursement issues can bring challenges to the market.
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