Rising numbers of pre-term births stoke demand for infant care solutions in Europe

Demand for all-in-one devices for the neonatal intensive care unit is on the rise, finds Frost & Sullivan

The saturated European market for infant care solutions has received fresh impetus from the rising incidence of pre-term births.

On the technology front, vendors are likely to introduce patient-friendly, innovative devices of high quality that are also cost effective. These adaptable technologies will reduce the time of treatment, thus reducing patients’ stay in hospitals and, ultimately, the cost of care

This trend is not only fuelling the demand for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) devices, but also skilled and trained professionals to operate this equipment.

A new report from Frost & Sullivan, entitled Analysis of the Western European Infant Care Solutions Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $151.5m in 2014 and estimates this to reach $177.5m in 2018.

The research indicates that birth before 37 weeks is the leading cause of infant mortality across the globe, accounting for an estimated 1.1 million deaths a year. The largest rise in pre-term birth rates in Europe per year since 1990 was registered in Belgium (2.5%), Spain (2.2%), France (1.6%) and the UK (1.5%).

“While governments across Western Europe are reacting to these escalating numbers through initiatives to deliver better facilities, the cost cuts rolled out by governments to make solutions affordable have narrowed manufacturers’ margins,” said Frost & Sullivan healthcare research analyst, Akanksha Joshi.

“Additionally, the ongoing consolidation of hospitals in Europe due to budgetary constraints has compelled the merged hospitals to share designated NICUs and delivery beds.

“Various non-profit organisations along with the governments are attempting to offset the effect of consolidation by funding the hospitals to increase the number of cots and staff in the NICUs.

Overall, devices that are adaptable and flexible will gain traction in the Western European market for infant care solutions

“On the technology front, vendors are likely to introduce patient-friendly, innovative devices of high quality that are also cost effective. These adaptable technologies will reduce the time of treatment, thus reducing patients’ stay in hospitals and, ultimately, the cost of care.”

Leading market participants often bundle products and offer heavy discounts. There is a substantial market for combined devices, especially for infant incubators with radiant warmers, phototherapy systems with radiant warmers, and transport incubators with the capabilities of a mobile NICU.

“Hospitals are demanding technologically-improved and sophisticated devices, which include hybrid warming devices that can be configured as open or closed incubators, and double-walled incubators,” said Joshi.

“Overall, devices that are adaptable and flexible will gain traction in the Western European market for infant care solutions.”

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