A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), also known as an intensive care nursery (ICN), is a specialized unit where ill or premature newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are admitted. The term neonatal refers to the initial 28 days of a baby’s life. A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) usually includes specialist staff such as neonatologists and neonatal nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and dietitians. Clinicians specializing in other ancillary disciplines are also available in larger units.
The neonatal nurses are advanced practice nurses that look after premature babies and sick newborns in intensive care units, delivery rooms, emergency rooms, and special clinics. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm every year across the globe and more than 3.5 million premature births are reported in India alone. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, in 2016, nearly 1 in every 10 infants born in the U.S. was a preterm baby. Preterm birth and related complications are a leading cause of death in children under five-years of age.
Preterm birth can be unexpected and overwhelming for the parents and NICU services help cope with complications during and after the birth of the premature baby. NICU provides a wide range of services including heart, surgery, neurology, urology, and other specialists, diagnostic services for complex medical problems and genetic disorders, dietary supervision, incubators, and ventilators, and social services for emotional support and other assistance (lodging, insurance, etc.)
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The global neonatal intensive care unit services market is anticipated to expand at a steady pace during the forecast period due to rise in the number of preterm births across the globe. The global NICU services market can be segmented based on type of admission, type of hospital, and region. Based on type of admission, the market can be classified into premature births, low birth-weight, birth-related disorders, and others. Premature births segment accounts for the largest share of the market and is expected to continue its dominance during the forecast period. In terms of hospital type, the neonatal intensive care unit services market can be categorized into public and private hospitals. Based on geography, the NICU services market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are projected to account for the largest share of the market due to high expenditure on health care, increase in preterm births, and introduction of technologically progressive services in the region. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a high CAGR owing to the rise in demand for neonatal intensive care unit services from developing nations. The market in developing countries in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a rapid growth rate during the forecast period.
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Growing treatment and diagnostic capabilities and government initiatives, increase in awareness, and decrease in treatment cost are key drivers of the market. Countries such as China, Japan, and India in Asia Pacific are likely to be lucrative markets for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) services in the near future. Key factors driving the market are rapid development of health care infrastructure, surge in premature births, rise in affordability, increase in per capita income, and increase in emphasis on research & development in the health care sector.
Key players operating in the neonatal intensive care unit services market include Community Health Systems, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Tenet Healthcare, LifePoint Health, Prime Healthcare Services, Ascension Health, Trinity Health, and Kaiser Permanente