Medical technology is and shall remain an export hit. The German medical technology industry makes more than two-thirds of its revenue through the business with buyers in other countries. Above all, the medical advancement, the growth of the middle class in emerging countries, an increase in diseases of affluence, which are also present and unchanged in the industrial nations, as well as a total rise of the older population represent constants for the lucrative health business. Furthermore, with regard to medical technology and medical product demand, it results in a positive effect that certain countries undertake great efforts to establish themselves as a destination for health tourists. For example, this applies to destinations such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arabic Emirates (UAE), Thailand, Turkey, or also Tunisia.
Independent from positive growth forecasts considered over the long term, the market climate has not been marked by such much euphoria as was the case just a few years ago. The majority of business volume is still determined by state health expenditures and is marked by forced budgetary cutbacks. This is because, with regard to this issues, markets in other countries are not significantly different to the German market. In addition, exchange rate risks are also involved, whereby currently, the European suppliers are primarily fighting the strong value of the euro.
All in all, the innovation orientation is at least on the rise. Even in emerging countries, the demand volume is growing and there is less based on a rise on increased volumes of supply, but driven by targeted investment in modern systems and processes. With regard to this issue, necessary instruments for minimally invasive surgery or also other equipment for medical imaging have to be mentioned.
Therefore, the medical technology manufacturers are particularly at an advantage. Those that do not neglect their own research and product development and can clearly highlight the additional benefit of new generations of equipment and processes have the best cards on the market.
MEDICA: Success generates inventiveness
For the trade show and event business, the innovations and continual “product care” also represent crucial factors for success. Even very successful events are regularly subjected to a “checkup”.
In this way, the MEDICA in Düsseldorf has already claimed to be the world’s largest medical trade show. Most recently, with more than 4,500 exhibitors and over 130,000 professional visitors, it is undisputedly the leading market and information platform at an international level. More than half of the visitors and three-quarters of the exhibitors come from abroad, whereby the quality of the visitors is very high. 95 percent have decision-making authority. This high value with regard to visitors explains why 96% of MEDICA exhibitors are extremely satisfied with regard to their business success due to their trade fair participation and the contacts that have been generated.
The “vital signs” are just right and so that it stays that way, product ranges in the trade show and the accompanying congresses are continually revised and adapted to changed requirements of the visitors.
Seeing that in previous years the new forms integrated into the trade show had been initiated successfully and the internationalization of the points in the program with many English-speaking presentations had been promoted – these include the MEDICA TECH FORUM or also the relaunch of the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM – it was also important to subject the MEDICA congress program to a far-reaching “live-cell therapy”.
The MEDICA Congress was changed into the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE. The focus on key topics was intensified while building up the international part of the program, offering seminars in the English language.
“Live-cell therapy” continues – DGIM a new conference Partner
As of this year, another “step” of the indicated “live-cell therapy” is on the move. A new addition was made with the German Society for Internal Medicine (DGIM), as a renowned partner for the further development of the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE program. With its network of 23,000 members, DGIM is closely networked in the fields of science, medicine and health services on a European-wide basis. Since its founding in 1882, it unites all scientists and physician that are active in the field of internal medicine under a single organizational umbrella.
Under the motto, “Science Meets Medicine”, the content orientation of this year’s MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE is providing a thematic integration between the conference program and what the trade show offers, represented by the medical technological innovations of the MEDICA exhibitors. Thereby, it has to do with asking the central question of which concrete values result to doctors and patients from using the latest procedures in clinical routine.
The broad field of medical imaging provides the best examples of this. The latest generation of equipment, such as ultrasound systems primarily leads to valid diagnosis assessment when the forms of interpretation of the doctor using the equipment are in tune with the advancements in technical development.
The other days with special themes of this year’s MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE on “telemedicine and robotics” or also “interventional medicine”, among other things will also shed light on the opportunities of using technical innovations.
With reference to the conference program, being oriented toward those interested belonging to important target groups, MEDICA is also ensuring that what is being offered is also linked with the topics presented at the trade show. An example of this includes the 37th German Hospital Day, a leading event for the directors and management of German hospitals that, in addition to current political topics, sheds light on the topic of “tangible issues”, e.g. aspects of human resources and hospital IT.
There are two more conferences that also represent this. Each of them had their highly respected debuts last year and shall be continued this year: The conference for disaster and military medicine, DiMiMED, as well as the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE, all on the issues of prevention and sports medicine treatment concepts. It has to do with conferences held in the English language that are geared for an international audience.
This year, the MEDICA PHYSIO CONFERENCE, organized by Thieme, is new in the program this year with treatment-oriented talks for the professional scene of physiotherapists emphasizing the treatment of pain and sports physiotherapy.
Forums and trade show
In close connection with the MEDICA presentations of the exhibitors and the MEDICA conference program, significant trends also convey the numerous forums that are integrated in the trade show. These include MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM (IT trends, telemedicine/hall 15) and MEDICA TECH FORUM (political, economic and legal framework conditions in the field of high-tech medicine) with English-language presentations respectively, MEDICA PHYSIO FORUM (on professional and treatment-related questions for physiotherapists/hall 4) as well as Messe Düsseldorf and the "Techniker Krankenkasse" (TK, a German health insurance company) along with MEDICA ECON FORUM jointly initiated by both (hall 15) on issues of benefit assessment and funding innovation, primarily from the perspective of patients and cost bearers.
In the middle of November, more than 4,500 exhibitors from around 65 nations will in turn use MEDICA 2014 in order to present the entire spectrum of new products, services and procedures to raise efficiency and quality in outpatient and in-patient care on almost 116,000 square meters of booked floor space.
Clearly structured according to hall, focuses of the MEDICA trade show include: Electromedicine/medical technology (more than 2,500 exhibitors), laboratory technology/diagnostics, physiotherapy/orthopedic technology, commodities and consumables, information and communication technology, medical furniture and specialist furnishings, and building technology for hospitals and doctors’ offices.
MEDICA reveals trends – innovations for the entire workflow
A central strength of the MEDICA is that it not only deals with solutions for individual medical specialist disciplines at a single place and a single time, but for the complete “workflow” of patient treatment.
In reference to product developments, the advancements made, for example, in imaging technologies are impressive. In the meantime, ultrasound devices of the best class offer a resolution and, at the same time, contrast with a penetration depth that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. First systems even had built-in “anatomic intelligence” consisting of an integrated database with anatomic structural models. In this way, better balance can be achieved if the transducer does not sit entirely right. Advantages also result in the creation of tomographies. As a result, an image quality is achieved that is suitable for the high requirements of cardiology.
As a further crucial trend in light of the innovations of the MEDICA exhibitors, the advancement of digitalization and automation in the operating room can be accounted for. Altogether, information and medical technology continue merging with each other more and more . In high-tech operating rooms equipped with the state of the art and so-called hybrid operating rooms (with equipment for medical imaging “on the spot”), surgeons can fall back on a continuously growing number of systems that can facilitate intervention and patient monitoring and even be able to assist in the process. Here, the circle is complete with regard to presentations on “telemedicine and robotics” as well as “interventional medicine” at the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE.
However, the last few tries a few years back may have been seen as failures when robots – in the case of hip operations for example – had guided the incision with the scalpel entirely on their own. In the process, the error rate was simply too high. Nevertheless, robotics have paved their way into the field of medicine. Systems that are established include those that are computer-based on the basis of data of medical imaging and a defined planning and marking of the “target area” before intervention that navigate surgeons very precisely, controlling incision. There is already a special 3-D x-ray system for clinical use that had been presented at MEDICA in 2012 as a research project entitled ORBIT. It made intraoperative imaging during operation possible (e.g. control scans). For this, the intervention did not have to be interrupted for a long period of time. This is because the x-ray detector and source are independent from each other on the operating table and secured in such as way that access to the patient remains constant. The scan takes place in a fully automatic fashion. It is sufficient enough beforehand for the operator to guide the x-ray head over the area where an image should be taken later.
Medical technological equipment in the operating room is increasingly networked with one another and can exchange required information among each other or between the hospital operating system for intervention or for creating documentation. The various equipment can be centrally controlled by (touchscreen) panels that are easy to operate.
Marching on: “Wearables”
Furthermore there is already a conceptual approach on how data glasses (“Google Glass”) could optimally support surgeons in connecting to patient monitoring systems on the heads-up display, showing the most important vital signs.
By the way, wearables: Advancements in the field of sensor systems, material development, energy storage, and chip technology are motors for growth of this diagnosis and communication “all-rounder” used close to the body. The spectrum of current technology developments ranges from a chip-sensor band-aid to determining specific body parameters by connecting to a smartphone app, all the way to contact lenses that analyze blood sugar content, transferring this information using radio technology.
The Wearable Technologies Show being held in hall 15 communicates to MEDICA visitors a fine selection of wearables that possess a lot of market potential from a medical perspective. Apart from that, light will be shed on interesting aspects in even more detail at the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE (in the Congress Center Düsseldorf/ CCD South) . For example, many athletes use so-called “Activity Trackers” that generate a plethora of data. Which data is relevant in terms of preventive or therapeutic measures from a medical standpoint? And: Which standards do the data have to comply with in order to be able to be used by doctors at all? The conference presentations and discussions are going to clarify such questions.
Suppliers as important pacesetters for innovations.
Those that would like to stay up-to-date on what is currently trending in the professional scene and above all, to what extent the suppliers in cooperation with the medical technical industry drive on medical advancement. This is also a reason that a visit to COMPAMED 2014 is worthwhile. Within the scope of the international leading platform for suppliers, around 700 exhibitors are presenting their technological and service solutions for use within the medical technological industry – from new materials, components, primary products, packaging and services, all the way to complex custom manufacturing.
Here, microsystem technology solutions for mobile diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy systems are particularly trendy. With reference to the “wearables” mentioned earlier, specialist suppliers deal, for example, with how the required technology can be best integrated into clothing. Thereby, there are numerous challenges to tackle: In this connection, wearable textiles must furthermore be stretchable without losing contact and should also be sufficiently robust for care.
In the meantime, the technical requirements for this are fulfilled by tiny sensors, flexible and stretchable substrates made of silicon, polyurethane, polyimide, or textiles that can accommodate electronic assemblies over a wide area, as well as miniature connection technologies, energy efficient communication electronics and high-performance energy storage that can be wirelessly charged, among other things.
This unique combination allows MEDICA and COMPAMED to represent the entire process chain and the full range of medical products, devices and instruments. Together, they fill the whole Düsseldorf trade show complex (19 halls).
In 2013, the two fairs welcomed a total of 132,000 trade visitors, almost 17,000 of whom were particularly interested in the topics covered by COMPAMED.
As in previous years, it is possible to visit both events with a single ticket.
Opening times: 10:00 am - 6:30 pm, Saturday 10 am - 5:00 pm (MEDICA only).