Strong international feedback gives “MedTech” industry tailwind for exports
Summing up results of the world’s biggest medical trade fair after four days (16 – 19 November 2011) Joachim Schäfer, Managing Director at Messe Düsseldorf, said: “The manufacturers of medical device technology, medical products and medical IT have once again used the framework of MEDICA in Düsseldorf to impressively evidence their operational excellence.
Professional organisations reported an excellent mood prevailing amongst exhibitors and of good business as a result of the high attendance of international and decision-making trade visitors.”
At MEDICA and the concurrently held COMPAMED 2011 for upstream supplies (627 exhibitors) 4,571 exhibitors presented the entire cross-section of new products, services and processes for increasing efficiency and quality for in and out-patient care to 134,500 visitors (2010: 137,087) in halls well attended across the board. An important aspect for all export-oriented suppliers regardless of their country of origin: Visitors came from over 100 nations. All in all, every one in two visitors travelled to MEDICA 2011 from abroad, including as most prominent guests, EU Health Commissioner John Dalli (Malta), the British State Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green and US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Suresh Kumar. On his tour of the trade fair Dalli was impressed by the plethora of innovations and the pivotal role that MEDICA plays as a central hub for an innovation-driven growth industry. Suresh Kumar declared MEDICA a “generator of jobs” stressing the difference between this and trade fairs in other sectors of industry: “In the aviation or automotive field the leading trade shows are dominated by major corporations alone. By contrast MEDICA is a business platform for thousands of small and medium-sized companies. The deals concluded here create new jobs immediately.”
New Processes – Practical Applications
As an example of the ranges presented by the totality of MEDICA exhibitors the nominees and winners of the MEDICA Excellence Awards demonstrated how innovative processes are already practically applied in clinics and medical care centres. This year the Award in four categories was presented for the first time under the auspices of Federal Health Minister Daniel Bahr at an evening gala and it honours outstanding projects in which suppliers and medical users successfully cooperate with a view to optimising patient benefits. For instance, Philips Healthcare and the Düsseldorf University Clinic work in close cooperation. They received the MEDICA Excellence Awards in the “Successful Cooperation” category for their hybrid imaging concept for complex heart valve surgery. The other winners were: Siemens/UKE Hamburg (category: Visionary Hospital / a “paperless” hospital project), Raumedic/Uniklinimum Saarland (category: Excellence in Daily Routine/development of a telemetric system for measuring intercranial pressure) as well as the start-up OD-OS (category: Newcomer/navigated laser therapy against macula oedema in the eye).
“Rigidified thinking patterns must be broken down and medical device technology must look beyond the investment cost for its implementation,” says Horst Giesen, Director of MEDICA who believes with the MEDICA Excellence Award the foundation stone has been laid for establishing a quality symbol for health care and the MedTech industry.
Networking for Optimal Processes – Service for Users
A tour of the exhibition halls of MEDICA 2011 has revealed that not only manufacturers and users are cooperating ever more intensely in product development. With a view to optimising processes in both in and out-patient care the networking of equipment is also increasingly being pushed – at times achieved through cross-device, single-source solutions and at others by means of a cooperation between different device manufacturers. This particularly applies to the many different technical systems used in operating theatres. Be it medical devices for endoscopy, imaging and computer-aided scheduling or the OR table. Lighting, audio controls as well as image and video archiving – suppliers now offer initial solutions for the easy central control of all of these devices via one single touch screen. Likewise, for various types of interventions specific device configurations can be pre-programmed in such a way that they can be activated at a touch of a button. As if by magic the devices then all adjust to the defined pre-settings, thereby shortening resetting and change-over times.
In addition to intensified cooperation with other suppliers medical device producers focus on enhancing their service offers for securing their market position. This fact was also addressed by the MEDICA TECH FORUM in Hall 11, presenting a study on users’ service requirements and needs as well as producers’ lectures on best practice for training users.
The extent to which users’ requirements in surgeries and clinics can even trigger major trends became evident in the MEDICA segment on medical IT. There are more and more medial applications (Apps) on the market for mobile use now. Smartphones and tablet PCs can easily be incorporated into Hospital Information Systems. This means doctors can now call up all relevant data from the electronic patient records rather than carrying paper records to the patients’ beds. This development has not been pushed by the industry so much. Leading suppliers such as Tieto and Deutsche Telekomm reported quite a high level of demand from clients, i.e. physicians who wished medical content and information to also be available and accessible on mobile devices that physicians are familiar with from their own personal use.
Good Response to the Forums and Congresses
The Theme Parks and Forums forming part of MEDICA such as the MEDICA MEDIA FORUM (telemedicine/medical IT), the MEDICA PHYSIO FORUM (physiotherapy), the MEDICA TECH FORUM (medical device technology innovations) or the newly launched MEDICA WOUND CARE FORUM (wound care) enjoyed very good visitor attendance on all four days of the event and covered a wide variety of subjects, some also in English.
Several thousands of participants were registered at the MEDICA Congress. Also in terms of its wide and varied programme of almost 200 seminars, courses and workshops it again fulfilled its role as Germany’s biggest multi-disciplinary continuous professional education platform. Summarising events Dr. Julia Rautenstrauch, Secretary General of MEDICA Deutsche Gesellschaft für Interdisziplinäre Medizin, said: “Highlights of the MEDICA TECH FORUM were the international seminars on robot and computer-aided surgery, on special concepts for military and disaster medicine as well as on current ICU trends. In the German part of the Congress the cross-disciplinary seminars on common diseases like hypertension, diabetes, aidpositas and dementia were well attended, to name but a few.” The complimentary “PatientenForen” also went down very well; the clear highlight here was the event focusing on the key question “How to turn 100” that explored the right lifestyle needed to reach a ‘grand old age’.
Successful Launch of the European Hospital Conference
The 34th German Hospital Day as the leading communication platform for all hospital professionals addressed health policy issues under the general heading “Improving Care – Removing Barriers!“ The 2,250 delegates were also offered a multi-faceted information programme such as the nursing care forum or specialist events on the topics IT, Hygiene and Controlling.
A premiere was held for the international audience under the umbrella of the German Hospital Day. 160 top-notch decision-makers from European clinics were pioneers at the “First Joint European Hospital Conference”. Gerd Norden, Managing Director of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Krankenhaustag, considers the debut a success: “By initiating the European Hospital Conference with its participants from 32 nations we established a discussion forum for European health policy. The response to the kick-off event was positive across the board and this can now be built upon.”
16,000 Visitors at COMPAMED
Always held in parallel with MEDICA, COMPAMED once again underpinned its position as the leading international event showcasing supplies for medical manufacturing. 627 exhibitors from 40 nations, as many exhibitors as ever since its inception, were presented in Halls 8a and 8b showcasing their high-tech solutions to the around 16,000 visitors as competent partners for development and manufacturing in the medical device industry. In addition to the participating enterprises the exhibits on show such as new materials, mechanical and electronic components, packaging, quality testing and complete contract manufacturing also honed in the two specialised forums integrated into COMPAMED. The forum by IVAM – the Association for Microtechnology, Nano-technology and New Materials – focused on the application spectrum of micro-system technology and nano-technologies while the new COMPAMED Suppliers Forum organised by the trade magazine DeviceMed in English presented trends along the entire process chain for the development of medical products.