The global medical robots market is expected to reach USD 16,742.0 million by 2023 from an estimated USD 6,464.4 million in 2018 at a CAGR of 21.0% during the forecast period. The key factors propelling the growth of this market are the advantages offered by robot-assisted training in rehabilitation therapy, technological advancements in robotic systems, increase in funding for medical robot research, and the issuance of IPOs by medical robot companies. On the other hand, the high cost of robotic systems and safety concerns over robotic surgeries are limiting market growth.
How is rapid growth in the geriatric population an opportunity for Medical Robots market?
According to the United Nations, the world population is aging rapidly. In 2015, the number of people aged 60 and above was estimated at 901 million. This number is expected to reach 2.1 billion by 2050. With a worldwide increase in the geriatric population, the number of individuals suffering from physical disabilities is also likely to increase. Technological advancements have enabled the development of medical robots that help manage routine tasks in medical and residential care environments for the elderly and people with disabilities. For instance, principal research scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Mechanical Engineering developed the Anklebot in October 2013. The robot is an experimental and rehabilitation tool designed to train and strengthen lower-extremity muscles.
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In another instance, scientists from Japan-based Sumitomo Riko and RIKEN developed an experimental nursing care robot, ROBEAR, for lifting a patient and providing assistance for standing. Technological advancements in the field of medical robots to assist the geriatric population are likely to offer growth opportunities for players operating in the medical robots market.
Why is the cost of medical robots a challenge?
Robotic-assisted surgeries are much more expensive than other minimally invasive surgeries. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends robotic hysterectomy only for unusual and complex clinical conditions. The association states that the adoption of robotic surgery for all hysterectomies would add an estimated USD 960 million to the annual cost of hysterectomy surgeries in the US. The da Vinci system, which is one of the most commonly used robotic system, costs more than USD 1.5 million, while the CyberKnife robotic system costs around USD 4 million per unit. In addition, the annual maintenance cost of a robot is close to USD 125,000, which further adds up to the already high cost of robotic surgery. The rising cost of surgeries due to the use of robotic systems is thus expected to restrain the growth of the medical robots market.
Over the last few years, hospitals worldwide have witnessed a decrease in their budgets primarily due to declining federal budgets. For instance, the Florida government’s budget cuts for South Florida hospitals amounted to USD 160 million in 2017. Moreover, in 2017, around 44 urban hospitals in Denver were expected to face budget cuts ranging between USD 0.1 million to USD 20 million. Similarly, hospital budgets in some European countries were reduced in the last couple of years, with further reductions expected in the coming years. In 2015, the French government released guidance for hospitals in a bid to reduce overall spending by USD 3.2 billion (EUR 3 billion) over the next two years while encouraging equipment sharing between facilities. Furthermore, in May 2015, the government of Australia announced plans for a budget cut of ~USD 1.6 billion (AUD 2 billion) over the next five years from its healthcare budget. The reduction in budgets has necessitated cost-containment measures in many facets of hospital operations. Cost cutting has resulted in laying off staff, delay in facility upgrades, and freezing purchase of capital equipment such as high-cost robotic systems.
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