Body pressure has been recognized as the most important extrinsic factor involved in the development of pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcer is a localized injury of the skin and/or underlying tissue resulting from an external mechanical load by our body, applied to soft biological tissues. The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) classified pressure ulcers into four categories namely stage I (non-blanchable erythema), stage II (abrasion or a blister), stage III (uperficial ulcer) and stage IV (deep ulcer). Stage IV is considered as the most crucial pressure ulcer that can create emergency medical conditions. Pressure ulcers can be prevented by a number of support surface devices that include cushions, mattresses, specialty beds and overlays. The pressure relief devices market is experiencing significant growth owing to rising number of patients diagnosed with pressure ulcers coupled with growing geriatric population. In addition, availability of technologically advanced pressure relief devices such as dynamic air therapy mattresses also accentuates the growth of this market. However, technical complexity, requirement of skilled personnel and high cost of the devices are some of the factors restricting the demand of pressure relief devices to some extent.
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Strong customer relations to attain long-term business goals is a key growth model that companies in this market are adopting. A case in point is ArjoHuntleigh, the company is focused on developing strong relations with customers by means of providing customized services.
Investment in emerging markets to increase market share is also what key companies in this market are looking upon. For example, Covidien plc has substantially invested in the emerging markets of APAC to leverage the opportunities available in this region.
Limited Mobility of Geriatrics Pose a High Risk of Developing Pressure Ulcers
“An increasing number of obese population worldwide is boosting the growth of the global market for pressure relief devices,” points out a TMR analyst. The prevalence of obesity has doubled between 1980 and 2014, according to the World Health Organization. The increasing obese population is displaying an increased demand for pressure relief devices such as mattress overlays and specialty beds to prevent pressure ulcers.
The increasing geriatric population is also fuelling demand for pressure relief devices. This is because elderly people have high chances of developing pressure ulcers due to reduced blood flow, damaged nerves, and limited mobility.
Unfavorable Reimbursement Policies Adversely Affect Uptake of Pressure Relief Devices
High cost of pressure relief devices and unfavorable reimbursement policies for the same are impeding this market’s growth. Changes in reimbursement policies for pressure relief devices in recent years have been detrimental to the market’s growth. This is because treatment of pressure ulcers is an expensive affair, for which reimbursement is essential for the patient. For example, the price range of an air fluidized therapy bed is from US$15,000 to US$25,000. Moreover, adoption of reimbursement restrictions for pressure ulcers on the part of private insurers, especially in developing nations such as China, India, Brazil, and Mexico is restraining the market’s growth.
The global market for pressure relief devices is expected to reach a valuation of US$2.8 bn by 2020. On the basis of device type, low-tech devices led with 86.9% of the overall market in 2013. This segment is expected to display a higher growth rate over its counterpart hi-tech device segment in the coming years. This growth is mainly owing to the advantages of low-tech devices pertaining to prevention of ulcer, easy operability, and cost effectiveness.
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In 2013, North America stood as the leading market for pressure relief devices. However, Asia Pacific is anticipated to display the fastest growth rate in the coming years due to an increasing geriatric population base in this region.
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