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Nine Trends Driving Diagnostic Imaging in 2022 Identified by Alliance Healthcare

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 28 Feb 2022
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Image: Nine trends driving diagnostic imaging in 2022 (Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Image: Nine trends driving diagnostic imaging in 2022 (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Alliance Healthcare Services (Irvine, CA, USA), a provider of outsourced healthcare services offering diagnostic radiology services, has identified nine trends driving diagnostic imaging in 2022.

Most significantly, Alliance predicts PET/CT to come into focus in 2022. Imaging volumes are returning to pre-pandemic levels despite cyclical COVID disruptions. Amid the volume ups and downs, PET/CT is likely to come into focus. Alliance expects developments in PET/CT imaging for oncology, cardiology and urology – stemming from new radiopharmaceuticals – to create opportunities for PET/CT providers to drive growth in imaging excellence and innovation in patient care.

Alliance anticipates diversification to be the key for players in the diagnostic imaging market. As consolidation and mergers take on new heights, and new players enter healthcare, industry participants will be forced to stay competitive by seeking opportunities to diversify services. Alliance also expects the road to transparency in the diagnostic imaging market to remain unclear in 2022. Federal enforcement of price transparency rules is set to commence this year. The near-term effects may not be disruptive, although Alliance anticipates similar initiatives and policies to upend the market over the long-term. The involvement and knowledge of employers, physicians and patients will pressure plans and providers to respond.

Additionally, Alliance expects staffing shortages plaguing companies and industries to continue in the diagnostic imaging market as well in 2022. The demand for highly trained radiology and other healthcare professionals remains strong. Sourcing sufficient and reliable staff to weather current market conditions – and to deliver compassionate, quality patient experiences – will become more important than ever. Alliance also anticipates supply chain stresses in the diagnostic imaging market to continue to permeate in 2022. Traditional supply chain management has become a central concern in healthcare. Radiology providers will need to prepare for supply disruptions and delays through the year. If their size and scale limit options, they will need to consider end-to-end partnerships that bridge the gap.

In 2022, players in the diagnostic imaging market will need to strengthen their value proposition, according to Alliance. Patients are increasingly participating in decisions about where to go for care, especially in radiology. Pandemic-related safety concerns are just one more consideration for patients who have easy access to online resources to compare their choices and imaging services – especially MRI – are highly shopped. Alliance anticipates cybersecurity to be key in the diagnostic imaging market in 2022. An influx of cybersecurity attacks in record numbers had posed new challenges to health systems in 2021. Healthcare executives will need to ensure that extensive measures are in place to address evolving IT threats and patient privacy.

Alliance expects mobile radiology solutions to result in the site of care shifting even closer to home in 2022. The recent dramatic adoption of telehealth, accelerated by the pandemic, marks yet another step toward more convenient outpatient care. Patients (and providers) now prefer their home setting for certain appointments. Since flexible hospital-level care at home remains mostly out of reach for now, mobile radiology solutions that improve access are likely to provide patients with quality healthcare close-to-home. According to Alliance, players in the diagnostic imaging market will face wafer-thin margins. Prices are rising on all fronts – from labor to supply costs – and putting pressure on already thin margins. Players in the diagnostic imaging market will need to become more creative and explore strategies, such as partnerships, in order to protect their bottom line.

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