Once again, decision makers of the international healthcare industry were “spoiled for choice” when it came to the themes at the world’s largest medical trade fair MEDICA and the internationally leading supplier trade fair COMPAMED in Düsseldorf. On the four days of the fair, around 120,000 visitors (with an international share of approx. two thirds from around 155 countries) enjoyed an offer that was more extensive and international than ever before. The fair took place from 12 to 15 November 2018. 5,273 exhibitors from 66 countries and an international share of more than 80 percent mean a new record for MEDICA. COMPAMED also seamlessly continued its record run with 783 exhibitors from 40 states.
“Nowhere else in the world will you find the entire process chain of innovations for the development, manufacture and marketing of medical devices, products, instruments and high-tech solutions presented in such a seamless manner and broached in hundreds of speeches by renowned experts,” say Wolfram Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf since 2018, impressed by the programmatic range. Diener is able to draw this comparison, as he held a leadership position at another trade fair host in the Asian business for many years. Here, he gained insight into markets, their structures and focus on innovation in various countries. “At MEDICA, visitors can see for themselves what is generally possible with regard to modern outpatient and clinical care and in which areas new processes and care models are being used in a promising way. These impulses are gaining importance, especially with regard to the German market. Service providers in this country are faced with ever growing price pressure. At the same time, they fortunately also benefit from an increasing orientation towards innovation and new technologies,” says Wolfram Diener, drawing on knowledge gained in numerous conversations with exhibitors.
Particularly with regard to one of the most significant trends of all, digital transformation, visitors were offered a lot of new information. A walk through the halls at MEDICA 2018 as well as participation in one of the roughly 1,000 presentations from the programme of the accompanying forums and conferences proved that the many innovations related to digitalisation not only offer good business perspectives to their providers, they also benefit doctors and particularly patients. “Benefits for patients are a more efficient use of medical personnel on the one hand and easier access to specialist know how on the other, for example when experts from neighbouring university hospitals or even from abroad are called in virtually,” emphasises Horst Giesen, Global Portfolio Director Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf.
MEDICA is the hotspot for start ups from around the world
At the moment, there is a clear development towards more digital health applications that are no longer based on expensive new hardware developments but are primarily software-driven. This development plays into the hands of large companies, but not just theirs. Start-ups around the world are also seizing their opportunity. For them, MEDICA has increasingly become a hot spot in the past years.
New start-ups gave presentations every day in the “MEDICA DISRUPT” initiative, held within the scope of the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM and the MEDICA App COMPETITION (Hall 15). A total of over 50 start-ups stormed the stage to present solutions for everything from treating skin cancer and chronic conditions (affecting the heart and lungs, for example) to telemonitoring and tracking of vital signs and activity. Thrilling start-ups could also be found in the MEDICA START-UP PARK, at the Wearable Technologies Show (both in Hall 15) as well as at the joint booths, especially of France, Israel and Finland. Among the product innovations presented here were a smartphone opthalmoscope to examine retinas and eyes as well as a smart pain patch that uses blue and red LED light to stimulate the wound healing process, to name a few examples. The developer team from “FibriCheck” in Belgium emerged victoriously from the App COMPETITION with a smartphone application based on artificial intelligence that recognises cardiac arrhythmias. All you have to do is scan one finger with a smartphone camera.
Programme highlights captivated the audience
The accompanying programme offered numerous highlights that focussed on the most important trends on the market and were met with an excellent response from the professional audience. Here, visitors could experience further enthralling examples of the use of artificial intelligence and see for themselves which sometimes breathtaking advances are already in the pipeline for the future. This became clear at the session on developments in the field of bionic technologies (for use in intelligent prosthetics) at the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTH CARE FORUM, to name one example, and at the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM. Here, one highly frequented session focussed on the potential of artificial intelligence for diagnostics, for example.
Other highlights of MEDICA’s accompanying programme were MEDICA ACADEMY, a medical training event, the international DiMiMED conference for specialists from the military and catastrophe medicine sector, the MEDICA PHYSIO CONFERENCE and the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE for sports professionals. Among other topics, the focus this year here lay on corporate fitness, meaning prevention concepts to be implemented in companies, as well as the use of sport in paediatrics and adolescent medicine as a means of preventing chronic illnesses such as diabetes 2 or obesity.
The 41st German Hospital Conference offered 2,150 participants a multitude of health politics and practice-oriented sessions, with several events dedicated to the topic of digitalisation here, as well. The most famous visitor was German Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, who officially opened the Hospital Conference and praised clinics as the backbone of care in his speech.
Suppliers boost powerful products
In connection with MEDICA, COMPAMED was held for the 27th time. COMPAMED is a worldwide leading event for the supplier market in medical technology manufacturing. The companies and research institutes came to Halls 8a and 8b and showcased their high-tech solutions, thus presenting themselves as skilled partners for development and production in the medical technology industry. Once again, small and simultaneously powerful components proved a hot topic among the product innovations. These components are used in increasingly more compact devices and products and even in active implants, which count as the most sophisticated medical products in the world. Currently, 3D printing is also developing dynamically. For the first time, COMPAMED dedicated a one-day international conference to this topic.