Digital pathology is an image based environment that involves managing, analyzing and interpreting digital information contained in a glass slide. Digital pathology is an emerging technology which offers substantial improvement in various applications such as drug discovery and development, diagnostic tests and academic and research purposes. Digital pathology is emerging at a rapid pace in the healthcare industry and is expected to overcome challenges in clinical practices, research and medical education. Advancements in information technology that enhances the prospects of improved connectivity and increasing favorable healthcare reforms are the major reasons that accentuate the uptake of digital pathology systems market. In addition, increasing workload of pathologists and rising healthcare spending has triggered the growth of digital pathology systems market globally. However, sampling error, high initial setup cost and stringent regulatory compliance might hamper the approval process of these systems and thereby reduce the uptake of digital pathology systems. The global digital pathology systems market was valued at USD 228.9 million in 2013 and is estimated to reach an estimated value of USD 492.8 million in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2014 to 2020.
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Based on technology, the digital pathology systems market is segmented as virtual microscopy and telepathology. In 2013, virtual microscopy segment contributed the largest market share and is expected to grow at the highest growth rate during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020. This growth was mainly attributed to digitization of microscopic slides coupled with increasing preference for utilization of virtual microscopy for disease diagnosis and drug discovery.
In 2013, disease diagnosis application segment accounted for the largest market share of the global digital pathology systems application market. This growth was mainly due to accurate and efficient diagnostic test results and rapidly analyzing slides in a short span of time with few diagnostic errors. However, increasing adoption rate of digital pathology among research communities for biomarker profiling and tumor morphological studies supports the growth of digital pathology systems in academic research application area during the study period from 2014 to 2020.
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Geographically, North America accounted for the largest market share of digital pathology systems market in 2013 and is expected to grow at a steady growth rate during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020. This market dominance was mainly due to increasing workload of pathologist, increasing use of companion diagnostics and favorable reimbursement policies. For instance, College of American Pathologist stated that, most of the computer assisted image analysis pathology tests are reimbursed under Medicare policy in the U.S. Europe accounted for the second largest market in 2013 and is expected to grow at the lowest CAGR during the study period due to economic downturn. Rising geriatric population in European Union is one of the major market drivers in this region as geriatric group are more prone to be diagnosed with cancer.
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Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2014 to 2020. This growth was mainly attributed to increasing geriatric population, rising healthcare awareness and increasing drug development activities in this region. For instance, in September 2013, Asia-Pacific International Academy of Pathology (APIAP) congress was held in Busan, South Korea. The primary agenda of this conference was utilization of pathology for the development of personalized medicine. The conference was hosted by the Korean division of IAP and countries participated includes Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Thus, arrangement of such conferences would help in increasing awareness in emerging economies. Moreover, companies are investing huge amount in Asian countries as these economies offer immense opportunities for the digital pathology systems on account of factors such as presence of large potential cancer patient population base coupled with continuous economic development. Major players operating in this market include Leica Biosystems, Olympus Corporation, Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., Philips Healthcare, GE Healthcare, Mikroscan Technologies, Inc. among others.
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