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Hematology Vendors Compete in Middleware ‘Arms Race’: Report

Middleware and information technology (IT) services earn revenue for hematology companies, according to Kalorama Information, but they are also key to signing up clients in developed markets.

NEW YORK - March 31, 2014 - PRLog -- Middleware and information technology (IT) services earn revenue for hematology companies, according to Kalorama Information, but they are also key to signing up clients in developed markets.  The healthcare market research firm said that hematology players in North America and Europe sell to markets with established instrument bases and where platform features help firms wrest away market share. Kalorama analyzed the market dynamics of hematology, including the IVD segment’s chief points of competition, as part of its recent report The World Market for Hematology.

“Traditional features between systems are at parity in a lot of cases,” report analyst Emil Salazar said. “So the competition is in the development of the best hematology-specific middleware and IT solutions. It’s shaping to be the next phase in the core lab hematology arms race.”

Middleware includes software and accompanying vendor services that provide an interface between an in vitro diagnostic (IVD) instrument and laboratory information system (LIS), or between instruments in the same work area of a lab. Kalorama Information estimates that approximately 25% of major hematology vendors’ revenue in the North American market is from services, including maintenance and training services, as well as middleware contracts and IT services. Service revenue has been an important component to vendor sales in developed markets where reagent sales are linked to gradual testing volume growth and poor investment climates have inhibited lab instrument purchasing. The market for middleware and other IT services is limited only by the installed base of target instruments while demand for operational lab efficiency remains high.

Leading hematology players Sysmex, Beckman Coulter, Abbott Diagnostics, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics and Horiba all offer clients hematology-applicable middleware. Prominent among middleware solutions is Sysmex’s hematology-specific WAM™ software marketed in the United States. The U.S. market is the last remaining major regional market where Sysmex has yet to gain a leading share in hematology. Previous hematology-focused innovations delivered significant gains in market share for Sysmex in Europe, North America, and across the world; hematology-specific middleware coupled with the company’s industry leadership figure to next improve Sysmex’s U.S. market standing.

“Another incentive [to provide middleware] also exists for the several leading core lab players involved in hematology,” explained Salazar, “a company can pave its way to an expanded presence in the lab by providing a proprietary IT platform on which to integrate additional instruments.” Integration is a key benefit of middleware, allowing labs to synch (and vendors to market) slidemaker/stainers, digital cell imaging systems, HbA1c analyzers, and ESR instruments with hematology analyzers. Through middleware, an automated system can guide lavender top tubes from complete blood count (CBC), to differentials,  to non-hematology testing (ESR, HbA1c), then slide smearing and staining, and digital analysis or image-based reflex differentials. Middleware can also interact with other pre- and post-analytical systems involved with sample processing, archiving, and retrieval.

Demand for middleware in hematology is also on the rise as a result of lab industry consolidation. Standardization of testing rules, data reporting and sample management aids in the coordination of care across multiple sites or facilities. Expanding healthcare organizations with centralized lab operations can similarly leverage hematology-specific middleware to improve lab efficiency through customized rulemaking that reduces reflex and repeat testing.

“The use of hematology middleware provides labs added flexibility in terms of integrating added testing volumes and managing resources through periods of transition,” noted Emil Salazar.

Kalorama Information’s The World Market for Hematology covers the market for IVD hematology testing products. The report details and segments the market by region, key country, product segment, and competitor share by region and product. The report can be found at http://www.kaloramainformation.com/Hematology-7899833/.

About Kalorama Information

Kalorama Information, a division of MarketResearch.com, supplies the latest in independent medical market research in diagnostics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare; as well as a full range of custom research services. We routinely assist the media with healthcare topics. Follow us on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/KaloramaInfo), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2177845&trk=hb_side_g) and our blog (http://www.kaloramakeypoint.blogspot.com).

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