Companies in this industry provide analysis and diagnostic services by examining body fluids and producing images of the body for medical professionals and patients. Major companies include Alliance HealthCare Services, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, and RadNet (all based in the US), as well as Biomnis (France), LifeLabs (Canada), and Sonic Healthcare (Australia).
Demand is linked to the number of people receiving medical treatment. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and good marketing. There are large economies of scale in the operation of medical labs, which can receive samples from a wide geographical area. Small medical labs can compete effectively by providing specialized analyses, or by serving geographical regions with few medical facilities. Imaging centers don't have similar economies of scale because they must be located close to patients, so small firms can compete effectively with large ones in a particular area.
Products, Operations & Technology
Medical labs (often called "clinical labs") receive specimens of body fluids (most often blood) or tissues collected from patients, and perform a wide variety of tests to determine the presence and amount of various biochemicals to help doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. The tests performed are often classified as either "routine" or "esoteric/specialty," according to the difficulty of analysis and the frequency of use in medicine. As technology improves and medical knowledge advances, esoteric tests can become routine. The large companies get about 60% of their revenue from routine tests. Some companies, such as Bio-Reference Labs and Esoterix, (a subsidiary of LabCorp), focus on the esoteric/specialty segment.