The medical equipment maintenance market is projected to reach $74.2 billion by 2026 from $45.2 billion in 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% during the forecast period, according to a new market research report.

The expanding patient population, the rising focus on early diagnosis, the growing number of diagnostic imaging procedures, the large presence of OEMs, increased agreements, and collaborations between service providers and end users are the major factors driving the growth of the market. However, the high initial costs and significant maintenance expenditure may hinder the growth of this market during the forecast period.

COVID Impact on the Medical Equipment Maintenance Market

As a result of the pandemic, during March 2020 and throughout the second quarter of 2020, access to customers to deliver the medical equipment maintenance diminished as hospitals became primarily focused on the critical care devices used in COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to a significant increase in the demand for critical care devices such as ventilators.

Due to restrictions on the transportation of components, companies that are not serving critical care devices are going to face challenges in order to procure supplies such as accessories for the maintenance of non-critical medical equipment. This is expected to increase the supply-demand gap for the maintenance services of non-critical devices. For critical care devices such as ventilators and respiratory care devices, whose demand is extremely high currently, the shortage of biomedical engineers can act as a limiting factor in their aftersales services.

Rising Focus on Preventive Medical Equipment Maintenance

The focus on the preventive maintenance of medical equipment has grown in recent years, as healthcare institutions seek to enhance patient safety and care quality. This involves a carefully designed program where maintenance tasks are performed in a scheduled manner to avoid larger and costly repairs down the line. It also helps in reducing equipment downtime, which enhances day-to-day operations and improves device reliability.

The preventive maintenance approach is gaining prominence as planned inspections, and medical device maintenance help avoid adverse incidents and medical device-related accidents. Regular maintenance services ensure the safe, efficient, and long-lasting use of medical devices. The growing focus on implementing preventive maintenance strategies among healthcare organizations is expected to offer growth opportunities for service providers in the coming years.

High Initial Cost and Significant Maintenance Expenditure

Maintenance programs for medical devices enable healthcare providers to track and monitor their condition, and thereby ensure efficient utilization and maximum uptime. This is also essential, given the current focus on preventive maintenance and cost pressures, to control total expenditure against a background of austerity measures. Such programs include the deployment of asset management solutions, which use advanced technologies.

However, the deployment of these solutions incurs high initial installation costs and significant maintenance expenditure, while the installation of advanced medical equipment incurs a service contract cost to be paid per year. The service cost thus paid during the lifespan of the equipment is usually more than the cost of the equipment. The high cost associated with the purchase and maintenance of advanced medical equipment is restraining end users from adopting them.

Emergence of ISOs

The medical equipment maintenance and services sector was initially dominated by OEMs. However, OEMs typically charge more than third-party vendors, and often take longer for maintenance, resulting in higher associated costs as well as downtime. This situation, especially given the backdrop of continuing austerity measures and the need for cost-curtailment in healthcare systems, has led to the emergence of ISOs dedicated to solely providing maintenance services.

With a strong team of experts, these organizations can cater to customers in situations where OEMs fail to offer satisfactory and time-efficient solutions. Moreover, ISOs offer services for multiple brands of medical devices, providing end users with a central, independent management platform for uniform service delivery across all asset groups, while reducing maintenance costs.

Survival of Players in a Highly Fragmented and Competitive Market

The medical equipment maintenance market is highly fragmented and competitive and comprises a broad range of players, including multinational companies and small local players. The high capital required in retaining biomedical engineers, logistics of medical devices, and regulatory approval make it difficult for several companies (especially start-ups and small organizations) to sustain their presence in the industry.

As a result, companies are focusing on the development of better and improved technologies to gain a competitive edge. A few companies have also emphasized acquisitions and partnerships to maintain and improve their market sustainability, expertise, and technological capabilities. This provides a highly competitive and dynamic environment, which makes it difficult for smaller companies to survive.