Oxygen concentrator technologies will continue to be focused on clinically sound therapy, albeit may incorporate more software and intelligence in the design.

Increasing demand for safe and user-friendly technologies, and geriatric population growth with long-term respiratory disorders is expected to propel global oxygen concentrators' market over the next 8 years.The global market is expected to grow from nearly USD 975.4 million in 2015 to almost USD 2.32 billion in 2023, reflecting an eight-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6 percent.

The industry is pre-dominantly driven by stationary oxygen concentrators with an estimated market of USD 490 million in 2015. Major factors driving the market include its ability to provide oxygen under all circumstances. There has been a quantum improvement in the home-based stationary oxygen concentrator technology.Less weight and more power are the characteristics of the new stationary units.The huge jump in technology is illustrated by the effectiveness of the devices in providing improved patient lifestyle. This transformation from stationary to portable devices presents an opportunity for the vendors.Economies of scale and a new distribution modality leveraging homecare services are set to change the industry. Home delivery market tends to be shrinking. Users of stationary oxygen systems generally still need a stationary unit for night, but service needed is limited.

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Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) will continue to have strong demand, generating over USD 459 million in 2015, expected to surpass USD 1 billion by 2023. The growth is attributable to new brands coming into the market, demand for lighter technology by consumers, and the need of greater mobility support for the elderly. Competition is expected to drive innovation, resulting in lighter units, and lower prices.

Portable oxygen concentrators are similar to any new technology that is introduced to the market and extended battery life is one of the areas that researchers are working to improve. Current POCs maintain a battery life of
3–8 hours, depending on the individual patients' liter flow settings. Developers are also working toward a silent compressor motor, allowing for minimal noise pollution in confined spaces.

Aesthetics are also being taken into consideration by manufacturers. Providing a cosmetically acceptable product has become of greater significance, since the units have become more portable. By enhancing performance features, manufacturers have enabled recent designs to be more durable and able to maintain oxygen saturation better.

Indian Market Dynamics

The Indian market for oxygen concentrators in 2015-16 continued to grow at 15 percent. Stationary oxygen concentrators dominate the market, with government constituting 20 percent of the market. In the portable segment, the private sector holds the entire market share.

Philips is a clear leader in this segment. Airsep, which had a dominant share in 2015-16, is exiting the segment in 2016. Taurus and Medicare had success with the government tenders in 2015-16, albeit at 25 percent lower price levels. Invacare also has strong presence in this segment. NRHM has invited a tender for 10,000 units in 2016.

Technology Trends

Pulse-dose technology to vouch for. Pulse-dose technology, a relatively new development in oxygen therapy, is incorporated in most new oxygen concentrators. Traditionally, oxygen concentrators provided a continuous supply of oxygen, regardless of whether the patient was inhaling or exhaling. A pulse-dose system delivers oxygen in fixed increments that corresponds to the inhalation component of a patient's breathing cycle. In doing so, pulse-dose technology prevents oxygen from being wasted and increases efficiency of an oxygen concentrator. Pulse-dose technology is particularly important in portable oxygen concentrators, which have limited storage. It is an on-demand delivery system for low-concentration oxygen therapy that can provide the same oxygen saturation to patients at a much lower volume per minute than continuous-flow oxygen. Pulse-dose systems aim to increase the oxygen tank duration and battery life of the concentrator and allow adjustable oxygen delivery, as well as smaller, more wearable machines. Delivering the oxygen bolus early in inspiration provides patients with the same oxygen concentration as continuous-flow oxygen.

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Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) has entered a new era as a result of technological developments such as portable oxygen concentrators, concentrator-compressors, and, in the future, concentrator-liquefiers. The smaller size of these oxygen delivery systems can improve patients' mobility and quality of life. Recent advances in LTOT have resulted in increased use of portable oxygen concentrators and decreased use of liquid oxygen tanks, with reduced costs to the healthcare system. LTOT improves quality of life and the improvement is related, at least in part, to the time spent using supplemental oxygen, which also relates to the delivery systems used. The effect of combining concentrators and portable devices to improve mobility and further enhance quality of life has yet to be determined. Prescribing oxygen during exertion with highly portable lightweight devices without the support of a pulmonary rehabilitation program may or may not lead to a more active lifestyle.

Importance of pulse oximeters. Hypoxemia can be detected by monitoring the oxygen saturation of the patient with a pulse oximeter. Monitoring oxygen saturation is important to determine whether oxygen treatment is effective and to prevent overtreatment. While a blood gas analyzer can be used to determine the partial pressure of oxygen in blood, a simpler, inexpensive, and non-invasive method is pulse oximetry. Pulse oximetry is the preferred method to measure the oxygen saturation in arterial blood.

Various pulse oximeters are available in the market. Either bench-top (AC-powered) or handheld pulse oximeters can be used, depending on the financial, electrical, and staff resources available. Handheld oximeters are cheaper than their larger counterparts, but most hand-held oximeters have batteries that require replacement, which could be very easily lost, stolen or unavailable in certain LRS. Where theft or loss of hospital equipment is a major risk, it may be sensible to secure the oximeter in one location within the ward, within reach of the sickest patients. An alternative is to have a locked chain securing the oximeter to a bracket on a wall or bench, with the key kept by the nurse-in-charge of each shift.

Outlook

Future oxygen concentrator technologies will continue to be focused on clinically sound therapy but may incorporate much more software and intelligence in the design. In a future clinical world of evidence-based care, compliance, and outcomes, data will continue to gain importance. Concurrently, as providers face higher operational costs and lower payments, the technology will need to be more intelligent and continue to eliminate unnecessary and costly non-value-added activities.

Indian Market Dynamics is based on market research conducted by Medical Buyer in May 2016.


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