Inside the Lab Industry: Reimbursement Cuts & Payor Denials Belie Industry’s Steady Growth

The worldwide market for clinical laboratory services has grown 2.9% per year since 2010 with an estimated value of $121.5 billion in 2019. And over the next five years that growth is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8%, reaching a market value of $146.4 billion by 2024. That’s the headline of a new report from healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information.

What’s Driving Growth

PAMA and reimbursement cuts, increasing payment denials and overall economic uncertainty belie the long-term growth of the lab services industry. Thus, while times are tough for individual labs and lab entities, the industry is on an almost inevitable path to growth. Most medical treatment decisions run through the lab. According to Kalorama, 70% to 80% of physicians’ diagnoses are based on lab test results. Drivers for continued growth include:

  • The aging population;
  • The growing incidence of chronic diseases and management;
  • Increasing utilization of diagnosis for disease monitoring; and
  • Advances in lab testing technologies and practices.

Growth by Lab Market Segment

According to Kalorama, clinical chemistry (routine and essential testing) represents the largest market segment by far, followed by immunology and microbiology.

Market Segments Ranked by Global Worth
1. Clinical chemistry (routine and essential testing)
2. Immunology and microbiology
3. Cytology and histology
4. Genetic testing
5. Toxicology testing

Source: Kalorama Information.

Growth by Market Segment

According to Kalorama, clinical chemistry (routine and essential testing) represents the largest market segment by far, followed by immunology and microbiology. The U.S. is the world’s largest market for clinical lab services, accounting for 53% of all global revenues. And while the U.S. market is mature, growth in testing volume is expected to continue over the next five years driven by test orders for preventative health care. Kalorama also lists the U.S. and China as the two most attractive markets for growth and new opportunities.

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