The Health and Medical Technology Industry in the United States

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The U.S. Healthcare Industry

The United States is a world leader in healthcare services and an innovator in cutting-edge diagnostics and treatments.mri image 

U.S. hospitals, academic medical centers, clinics, and laboratories provide sophisticated, technologically advanced care, and serve as a platform for biomedical innovation.

The United States has the largest healthcare services market in the world, representing a significant portion of the U.S. economy. In 2010, the healthcare services industry accounted for approximately $1.75 trillion in revenues and employed more than 14 million people, or nine percent of the U.S. workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that growth in the industry will yield 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018. Jobs in home healthcare services and diagnostic laboratories are expected to grow at the fastest pace – up to 40 percent during the next 10 years.

The industry is supported by a highly skilled and well-trained workforce that includes specialized physicians, nurses, and technicians. It is also backed by a strong private-sector health insurance industry that provides patients with choices for their medical care. Connections between the healthcare services industry and the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries also represent additional sources of growth and innovation.

Industry Subsectors

Academic medical centers: The United States is home to several hundred academic medical centers that provide specialized clinical care and serve as training institutes for health professionals. They often provide the most advanced treatments and act as anchors for regional life sciences clusters. Many academic medical centers also have significant research agendas, supported by more than $20 billion in annual funding from the National Institutes of Health and international partnerships.

Nursing and residential care facilities: About $190 billion was spent on nursing and residential care facilities in 2010. The U.S. has approximately 16,000 nursing homes with more than 1.7 million beds and an occupancy rate of more than 80 percent. As with the industry at large, facilities operate under both for-profit and nonprofit models.

In-patient care: In 2010, hospitals posted revenue in excess of $809 billion. The country is home to more than 5,000 hospitals, of which more than 1,000 specialize in a particular disease or type of patient. Most are nonprofit, but opportunities for investment exist in chains such as the Hospital Corporation of America, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, and Universal Health Services.  During each of the past 10 years, annual revenue increases have consistently exceeded five percent. 

Ambulatory care: About $750 billion was spent during 2010 on outpatient services, including physician and dental care as well as medical and diagnostic laboratories.

The U.S. Medical Technology Industry

The United States leads the world in the production of medical technologies and is the industry’s largest consumer.medical laser 

The U.S. market value exceeded $110 billion in 2012, representing about 38 percent of the total medical technologies industry. U.S. exports of medical technologies in key product categories identified by the Department of Commerce (DOC) were valued at approximately $44.2 billion in 2012, a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year. With new and innovative technologies coming to market, the U.S. medical technologies industry is highly competitive and well-positioned for future growth.

U.S. medical device companies are highly regarded globally for their innovations and high technology products. Investment in medical device research and development more than doubled during the 1990s, and research and development investment in the domestic sector remains more than twice the average for all U.S. manufacturers overall. The United States also holds a competitive advantage in several industries that the medical technology industry relies, including microelectronics, telecommunications, instrumentation, biotechnology, and software development.

The medical device sector continues to benefit from a new generation of materials, manufacturing processes, and technology developed in the United States, such as nanotechnology and micro-electro-mechanical systems. 

Industry Subsectors

Electro-medical equipment: Includes a variety of powered devices, such as pacemakers, patient-monitoring systems, MRI machines, diagnostic imaging equipment (including informatics equipment), and ultrasonic scanning devices. 

Irradiation apparatuses: Includes X-ray devices and other diagnostic imaging, as well as computed tomography equipment.

Surgical and medical instruments: Includes anesthesia apparatuses, orthopedic instruments, optical diagnostic apparatuses, blood transfusion devices, syringes, hypodermic needles, and catheters. 

Surgical appliances and supplies: Includes artificial joints and limbs, stents, orthopedic appliances, surgical dressings, disposable surgical drapes, hydrotherapy appliances, surgical kits, rubber medical and surgical gloves, and wheelchairs.

Dental equipment and supplies: Includes equipment, instruments, and supplies used by dentists, dental hygienists, and laboratories. Specific products include dental hand instruments, plaster, drills, amalgams, cements, sterilizers, and dental chairs.