MEDICA and COMPAMED hold their own in a challenging and demanding market environment
The international decision-making elite of the healthcare industry demonstrates presence
The demand market for medical technology and medical products is becoming increasingly challenging and discriminating worldwide. Providers are adapting to this on a flexible basis and furnishing appropriate answers that include innovations for modern and cost-efficient medical care. Visitors were able to see this for themselves at MEDICA, the world’s largest medical trade fair, and COMPAMED, the leading trade fair for the medical technology manufacturing supplier market, both of which took place in Düsseldorf. The slogan “Be Part of the No. 1” was embraced by experts from all areas of the health industry, who provided for a slight increase in the number of visitors to the fully utilised exhibition halls over the four days of the fair (18–21 November 2019).
“MEDICA and COMPAMED are the no. 1 market platforms for international business. Through their exhibitor and visitor numbers, they have confirmed their role as growth drivers for exports. This is in the interests of suppliers, of whom a great deal is currently being demanded in this market environment. Increasing trade restrictions, uncertainty in regard to Brexit, growing pressure on margins and other challenges, including ever more complex approval procedures for medical products, should be mentioned in this context,” says Wolfram Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, summing up the trade fair environment. Some 5500 exhibitors at MEDICA and nearly 800 at COMPAMED ensured a new record in participation. Something that was seen as positive particularly from the point of view of the many international exhibitors was the fact that more than 90 per cent of the 121,000 trade visitors have decision-making authority. Two-thirds of the visitors came from abroad, representing some 170 countries.
Numerous delegations with senior decision-makers from regions including Asia (such as Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Jurin Laksanawisit), North Africa and South America contributed to this high degree of internationality, which very much accommodates the export interests of many suppliers.
Focus on robotics and flexible use of such technology
In keeping with the latest trends and the increasing digitalization of the healthcare sector, MEDICA 2019 put its focus on medical robotics applications. KUKA, one of the leading providers of robotics and automation solutions, used the MEDICA platform to demonstrate a variety of possible applications for its lightweight medical robot in the final round of its “Innovation Award”. The spectrum of award topics ranged from a robot platform with magnetic capsules for early detection of colon cancer to an application that provides robot-supported laser treatment for varicose veins and robot-assisted, personalised back massages. “temi” was another innovation at MEDICA. This home-care robot is manufactured by Medisana and is a digital everyday aid that aims to help people remain in their own homes far into old age.
Compact, interconnected and artificially intelligent
Compact solutions for better networking of the participants in the healthcare sector, such as for data transfer between doctors and for communication between doctor and patient, are also on the advance. Many MEDICA exhibitors demonstrated what these ‘mHealth’ (mobile health) applications, which are very much in line with current trends, are already accomplishing today in order to accelerate care and make it less complicated. The exhibited range of applications includes medically certified wearables for monitoring various body parameters, virtual reality applications for use in rehabilitation and technologies for brain training and in the field of mental illness.
Whether robotics or mobile health, these areas of technological application will not be able to move forward without improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI, deep learning and big data were thus also important topics in the context of MEDICA 2019. For example, at the MEDICA LABMED FORUM, practical use of AI in digital pathology was examined, which promises particular benefits with regard to the diagnosis of cancer.
Getting to the heart of the foremost topics
The dominant topics of the healthcare industry and individual medical specialist interest areas were also reflected in lectures and discussions at the accompanying congresses and conferences. A few examples of these would be the 42nd German Hospital Day with more than 2,000 decision-makers from clinic management, the MEDICA PHYSIO CONFERENCE and the MEDICA MEDICINE & SPORTS CONFERENCE. Sebastian Kienle, one of the world’s best triathletes, was among the celebrity guests. He provided insights regarding the extent to which ‘performance medicine’ drives elite performances and successes such as the bronze medal he recently won at the Ironman competition in Hawaii. Kienle relies on the latest technologies for his training. He reported on the data, generated in real time, which he uses to guide his preparation, competitive strategy and recovery after an event.
No digitalisation in medical technology without suppliers
The basis for such outstanding athletic performances using cutting-edge technologies is also laid by numerous companies, which presented their innovations at the parallel fair COMPAMED in Halls 8a and 8b. Nearly 800 exhibitors from 41 nations set a new record for the leading international industry platform for suppliers to the medical technology industry. This area is currently benefiting above all from the demand for increasingly powerful components and digitalised solutions for mobile devices for diagnostics, therapy and laboratory equipment.
“Without miniaturised components and processes that enable ultra-precise manufacturing, portable and networked devices that transmit and evaluate vital parameters or medication would not be possible,” explains Dr. Thomas Dietrich, Executive Director of the IVAM Professional Association for Microtechnology.