The heart of healthcare beats in Dusseldorf

Horst Giesen, the project coordinator of MEDICA, describes highlights of the 38th show, and future plans for the event.

Interview by Daniela Zimmermann

`What are the hot topics this year?` Daniela Zimmermann, of European Hospital, publisher of the annual @MEDICA series, asked Horst Giesen.

Nothing will be presented with a lot of razzle-dazzle. However, it’s one of MEDICA’s strengths to focus on the ongoing development of trends. A point in case: miniaturisation. There are a number of innovations, as devices are becoming ever smaller and better.

Point-of-care testing is another big issue where we see a constant flow of clinical enhancements. Today, many procedures and measurements that traditionally had to be performed in the laboratory can be done at the bedside – with results instantly available.

Is the integration of such data into the electronic patient record (EPR) and hospital information system (HIS) still a big focus?
Very big – particularly in German healthcare, where the focus is on the electronic health card. At the show, several companies will demonstrate how that card works and explore its potential. We have scheduled the special show MEDICA.Media, which will also deal with the subject. Technically, these cards are available, but the different stakeholders have to agree on the ways they will be used.

This is a very German issue.
Indeed! But the electronic health card, I mean the software, and the technological know-how behind it, can be exported and thus presents major international market potential.

What are the major international issues at MEDICA 2006?
The international character of the trade show has prompted the Deutsche Krankenhaustag, for the first time, to look into questions of European concern. Under the general heading ‘Competition and Performance Results – What the Future holds for Hospitals’ an exchange of information and experience on a European level will be promoted.

Would you give us some MEDICA statistics?
The number of exhibitors has increased again, compared with last year: we have 4,200 exhibitors and 60% are non-German. Although we are completely booked, we were able to optimise the set-up and division of available space to accommodate even more exhibitors. However, there is still a waiting list.

With its huge growth and demand for space, might you plan to move MEDICA?
MEDICA is a product of Messe Dusseldorf and certainly won’t take place anywhere else. The city of Dusseldorf is the majority owner of Messe Dusseldorf and thus is eager to host the worldwide largest medical trade show. But quite obviously, there are other economic factors,  for example the fact that the trade shows in general, and MEDICA in particular, generate income for hotels and restaurants, retailers and others in this city and the entire region. We have a certain obligation towards the location Dusseldorf.

In terms of space, we are currently building another hall, 8 B, to be completed by September 2007. It will accommodate 35–400 additional exhibitors, so next year we’ll grow, along with our exhibitors.

Any other plans?
Yes, we will take a closer look at the exhibitors, to check whether they present real medical products – we will be more selective. Consequently, we have to change a few things in the products catalogue. However, this doesn’t mean we’ll weed out certain product segments – the segments are appropriate – but we have noticed that, upon registration, exhibitors classify their products incorrectly and that some of those products do not fit in the MEDICA portfolio. We will look at this more closely, and here, we rely on the industry associations to help us identify exhibitors who do not fit into our show concept.

As its organiser for 16 years, do you still look forward to this event?
Very much so! I’m impressed that more than 130,000 visitors from over 100 countries and 4,200 exhibitors with about 26,000 staff from 62 countries come here to meet, do business, exchange ideas and learn from one another. For us, as organisers, this is a wonderful confirmation that our work over the years has been, and continues to be, successful. We can proudly claim: For four days every year, the heart of healthcare beats in Dusseldorf.


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