Hospital Beds – A Highly Underpenetrated Market

Hospital Beds – A Highly Underpenetrated Market

Significant bed additions undertaken to capitalize on demand will raise capacity of large corporate chains by 25 percent between fiscals 2018 and 2019 with the total investment estimated at over  ₹ 5000 crore,

Beds are among the most essential equipment required in a hospital, as patients are generally not in mobile condition to receive the treatment, and rest is often necessary for them. The design of hospital bed has undergone several changes and utmost importance is now given to ergonomics, safety of the patients, and the comfort of the caregivers for hospital beds. The key features of new hospital beds include adjustable side rails and height along with operating buttons for electronic devices. These features make hospital beds more patient-friendly and furnish ambient comfort to the patients. Special hospital beds are packed with additional features and facilities which help in supplementing relief to the patient during operation as well as recovery periods.

As the practice of medicine and technology has evolved, hospital beds turned into more sophisticated medical devices especially from comfort and safety standpoints. Today, hospital beds have become lighter, stronger. and effective with increased use of polymer, superior synthetic casters, emergency positions like CPR and application specific positions like cardiac chair, etc. The new platforms offer more insights with monitoring of vital parameters like patient weight, revealing contouring angles, positions, etc. on a digital display. More advanced positions like lateral tilt effectively assists in early recovery and mobility and thus help in reduced average length of stay. Mattress and fabric are specially designed to offer maximum patient comfort.

Many modern hospital beds have the provision of electrical assistance for movement as well as for patient monitoring. These powered/electrical hospital beds are well suited in conditions where limited assistance is available, or when patient requires a particular resting position. Rising demand for advanced and selective features of hospital beds is a trend that urges investment in research and development of advanced beds.

Global Market

 The global hospital beds market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 5.5 percent from 2017-2025 to reach approximately USD 2.91 billion by 2025, predicts Research and Markets. Increasing ageing population, rising prevalence of chronic diseases, technological advancements in healthcare and medical industry, and increasing number of hospitalization cases are some of the factors driving the market growth. In addition, enhanced and improved infrastructure of healthcare coupled with growing middle class population as well as increasing investments for advancement of healthcare sector are some key elements propelling the growth of the global hospital beds market.

Also, rising consumer preference towards highly facilitated and efficiently equipped hospitals is another crucial factor accelerating the growth of the market. Moreover, customized hospital beds manufactured according to the specific needs of patients is also a major aspect fueling the overall hospital beds market across the globe. However, high initial costs of hospital beds is a key factor hampering the growth of the hospital beds market since such high cost restricts its affordability in the developing and low income geographies.

The electric beds segment is dominated the medical bed market in 2017. The large share as well as the high growth of this segment can primarily be attributed to the growing number of patients requiring bariatric care as well as the rising geriatric population across the globe. Manual beds are widely used in healthcare institutions where sophisticated healthcare facilities are not available. Healthcare providers in rural areas highly depend on manual hospital beds due to the shortage of advanced medical facilities and the low cost of manual beds. The segment will continue to grow during the next few years with the increasing number of multi-specialty and super specialty hospitals in APAC and EMEA.

Geographically, Europe is estimated to account for the largest share of the market in 2017 owing to the rising healthcare spending, technological advancements, and government support. North America forms the second most profitable region due to robust healthcare infrastructure, whereas, APAC is estimated to be the fastest-growing market. This is due to the increasing elderly population, improving healthcare infrastructure in the emerging economies, and increasing manufacturing outsourcing in APAC countries by the major players.

The market is highly competitive and is characterized by the presence of a large number of vendors. The international and regional players have a wide geographic reach and a strong market penetration. They focus on offering extensive product or services to retain and increase the trust of their customers. Since the international players are consistently focusing on increasing their footprint, the regional vendors are finding it quite difficult to compete against them especially in terms of quality, pricing, market reach, and financial resources.

Technological Advances

Hospital beds may seem far removed from the coalface of patient care; but the role innovative bed technology is playing, and has the potential to play, in eradicating preventable harm and promoting patient safety and experience, while reducing cost, is not to be underestimated. Bed handling has also been improved, with new features introduced to reduce manual handling injury among caregivers and hospital porters by making the bed very easy to maneuver, thanks to the inclusion of castor, brake, and steer design.

The very-latest hospital bed designs can offer greater mobility, shorter and more-positive recoveries, and protection from falls and injuries. Ultra-low beds, for example, can help to prevent injury should a patient fall, and the ability to set a custom height entry/exit position makes entering and exiting the bed safer for those patients who are able to be mobilized.

But the population is not just ageing. Obesity is now recognized as a global epidemic and large percentage of the Indian population is classed as obese. Overweight, or bariatric, patients are at higher risk of falls and innovative bed technology and effective bed management can make a world of difference to both clinical staff and patients themselves.

Calibrating hospital bed sensors to reduce decubitus ulcers. Patients who experience extended stays in the hospital often spend a good amount of time in a hospital bed. This prolonged non-ambulatory state can cause bedsores or decubitus ulcers. Traditionally, hospital personnel employ various techniques for the movement and displacement of patients, however this is sometimes not possible, or it could be dangerous for some patients and cumbersome for the hospital.  

Advances in the medical equipment manufacturing technology allow the use of smart beds and mattresses, which intelligently distribute the pressure throughout the patient’s body to prevent ulcers from forming. The new smart beds utilize multiple low pressure sensors in order to sense variable load displacement, and adjust the zones for optimal weight distribution across all body parts.

Actuator solutions for hospital beds. Hospitals face a reality in which there is fewer staff to attend to still more patients. Concurrently more elderly, obese, and multiple diagnosed patients are among the needy. Both trends call for improved applications able to help improve comfort for patients, ergonomics for staff, and the degree of efficiency for hospitals. Using actuator systems to provide movement and intelligent features to hospital beds allow manufacturers to meet demands and have several advantages in a fierce market. Currently used actuator systems enable to do so by applying smooth movement to adjust height, leg, and backrests.

Advanced mattresses designs. Just as important as the design of the beds themselves are the mattresses used. Modern designs put an emphasis on patient comfort and the reduction of pressure ulcers. For instance new mattresses are being designed specifically to relieve pressure on the heel and lower limbs, two common areas for troublesome pressure ulcers; while some utilizes 3D spacer textiles which reduce temperature, moisture and humidity, shear strain, and provide effective pressure distribution. Manufacturers are also designing air fluidized beds for patients with existing sores, providing a healing environment for compromised skin by minimizing the forces that cause tissue breakdown: pressure, shear, friction, heat and moisture.

Innovative birthing beds. Mothers-to-be are also at the center of the very latest innovations in hospital bed design. The vendors have recently expanded their portfolio by introduction of birthing beds which are equipped to manage all stages of childbirth and configured to help women maintain more-natural positions during labor and birth. They also transform easily into delivery chairs, with the foot section sliding away beneath the seat, and have height, back and seat section adjustments achieved via electric actuators controlled either from a central panel or a hands-free foot pedal.

And integral side rails provide added safety and feature special dual-sided control panels for easy adjustment. In addition they have been designed to optimize infection control, with frames manufactured from epoxy powder-coated steel, which is resistant to UV, mechanical damage and cleaning fluids, and have seats covered with removable ABS plastic molds which provide a smooth, impervious, easy-clean surface.

Road Ahead

The availability of advanced healthcare facilities and an increase in healthcare expenditure will boost the demand for hospital beds in the country. Also the emergence of highly sophisticated hospitals such as multi-specialty and super-specialty hospitals will increase the demand for technologically advanced beds. In the coming years, hospital beds will continue to become more efficient and effective with lighter designs, advanced clinical positions, and monitoring features. Patient and caregiver safety and comfort will continue to challenge the manufacturers. IoT and connectedness will inspire new advancements. The 2017 National Health Policy envisions to add 1.8 million new hospital beds in next 10 years in order to improve accessibility of healthcare and reach the global median. It is thus estimated that demand for hospital beds will continue to be strong in the future. However, the price competitiveness will hold the key for success since the hospital bed that was charged with 11-16.5 percent tax is now increased to 18 percent after GST implementation.

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