Air-assisted patient transfer systems (AAPTS) are equipment used by caregivers to shift patients with impaired mobility between stretchers, beds, wheelchairs, shower benches, automobiles, commodes, toilets, chairs, swimming pools, and other patient support systems during procedures such as surgery, radiology, and other examinations. These devices are used to prevent immobility, work related injuries, life-threatening complications, and costly adverse events such as pressure ulcers and venous thromboembolism (VTE), patient falls, and health care associated infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTI).
Best example of reduced mobility can be seen among the critically ill patients prescribed to take complete bed rest for longer durations. This can have adverse health consequences as after one week the same patient may lose up to 20% muscle strength. Air-assisted patient transfer systems play an important role in such conditions while improving care environments across the globe by creating cultural change, reducing the risk of life-threatening unfavorable events, improving the lives of people affected by reduced mobility, maintaining the comfort and dignity of the patients and provide a safe and secure working environment for caregivers.
The Air-assisted Patient Transfer Systems Market has been segmented based on product type and end-user. Patients who are unable to move and cannot assist caregivers to move them completely depend on support hung from the ceiling or attached to the floor. Such devices are called patient lifts. Based on end-user, the market can be divided into hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health care, and others (trauma, rehabilitation & paramedical centers).
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Rise in spinal cord injury cases among elderly people is a major factor driving the AAPTS market. Spinal cord injuries are common among men aged between 65 and 74, increasing from 84 cases per million to 131 cases per million over a 20-year period (recorded till 2012). Moreover, increase in bariatric patient population and rising number of back injuries and other related problems among sportsmen are factors propelling the market.
However, competitive pricing faced by key manufacturers and limited adoption of these techniques by hospitals as some of these still rely on the traditional methods of patient transfer to keep costs low are the major restraints of the market. Rising opportunities in the market in terms of strategic alliances among key players, addition of new products with better functionality to achieve fewer musculoskeletal injuries among staff, reduction in compensation claims, less work days lost, direct medical expenses, and increased efficiency with fewer staff required to transfer patients are likely to augment the AAPTS market.
For instance, in March 2017, HoverTech International, a leading manufacturer of air-assisted patient handling technologies, partnered with Sizewise, a global manufacturer of mobility devices and support surfaces, to expand its distribution network in the long term care market. In August 2017, HoverTech International introduced its new product Q2Roller, a lateral turning device for turning patient effortlessly without any manual lifting or pulling. Blue Chip Medical Products, Inc. recently launched a new air-based lateral transfer & repositioning system named ATM-AirPod. This device is available for multi-patient use and single-patient use.
Geographically, the air-assisted patient transfer system market has been divided into five regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. North America leads the global market due to rising number of bariatric cases and increased pediatric and geriatric population. High awareness about providing safety to caregivers and working professionals is another factor driving the market in North America.
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Europe is the second largest market. Increased demand for providing complete assistance to patients with reduced mobility is one of the key factors driving the AAPTS market in developed countries in Europe such as the U.K., Germany, and France. Absence of legal and regulatory protocols in Asia Pacific pertaining to patient handling for patients as well as caregivers in developing countries such as India and Sri Lanka hampers the growth of the market. Increasing demand in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE to keep health care facilities best in class boosts the market in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has some of the best hospitals in the world. Affordability and lack of technology restrain the market in underdeveloped regions such as Africa and Latin America.
Key players operating in the air-assisted patient transfer systems market include ArjoHuntleigh (Getinge Group), AirPal, Inc., HoverTech International, Sage Products, and Blue Chip Medical Products, Inc.