High decision-maker ratio, unique variety of new products and a top-class supporting program

After four days, MEDICA and COMPAMED in Düsseldorf have impressively confirmed their outstanding positions as platforms for global medical technology business and professional exchange at a top level. “The following contributed to this: the strong international visitor response, the high decision-making rate, the top-class supporting program and the unique variety of innovations along the entire value chain,” says Erhard Wienkamp, ​​Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, summing up what is happening in the halls of the leading international medical trade fair and the flagship event for the suppliers of the medical technology industry. From November 13th to 16th, the 5,372 companies participating in MEDICA 2023 and 735 companies taking part in COMPAMED 2023 provided the 83,000 “healthcare professionals” (2022: 81,000) with impressive evidence of their know-how with regard to the implementation of modern healthcare in doctor’s offices or clinics – from the high-tech supplier component to the high-performance end product.

“Three quarters of the visitors traveled to Düsseldorf from other countries. They came from 166 nations. “Both events are not only leaders in Germany and Europe, the numbers also underline their high relevance for global business,” emphasizes Christian Grosser, Director of Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf. A good 80 percent are significantly involved in important decisions in their companies and institutions.

The “push” for cooperation and international business through MEDICA and COMPAMED is significant for the industry. This is underlined by current reports and statements from industry associations. Although the medical technology market in Germany remains at the top in Europe with a volume of around 36 billion euros, the export quota of the German medical technology industry is estimated at almost 70 percent. “MEDICA is a good marketplace for the heavily export-oriented German medical technology industry to present itself to its (potential) customers from all over the world. It attracts many international visitors and exhibitors,” explains Marcus Kuhlmann, head of the medical technology association in the German Industrial Association for Optics, Photonics, Analysis and Medical Technology (SPECTARIS).

For this reason, the SPECTARIS industry association was once again committed to the MEDICA program design and, in cooperation with the medical technology initiative MedicalMountains, was responsible for the agenda of the MEDICA TECH FORUM (in Hall 9). “This offered information on digitalization and AI trends in medical technology, lectures on innovative approaches to technical documentation and, of course, the latest news on the long-running topic of ‘Medical Device Regulation’. With regard to important foreign markets, the focus was on China, but also the USA, UK, Switzerland and Indonesia,” says Marcus Kuhlmann, emphasizing the high practical benefit from the perspective of the visiting specialist audience.

Health innovations – digital & strengthened by AI

Whether at the trade fair, conferences or the specialist forums: the focus this year was particularly on the digital transformation of the healthcare system in the context of increasing “outpatientization” of care and networking between clinics. Also trending are processes based on artificial intelligence (AI) and supporting systems such as robotic systems as well as solutions for implementing more sustainable processes. The exhibitor innovations presented included, for example, an AI-controlled wearable to improve sleep quality (through brain stimulation based on precise neurofeedback signals), an energy-saving yet effective cryotherapy procedure and robotic systems for diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation – from robot-controlled ultrasound examinations to cardiac and vascular surgery without physical contact of the instruments when navigating through the blood vessels to mobilizing the upper body of bedridden patients.

Following the trend of outpatient remote patient care, the Beurer company presented a mobile emergency bracelet with fall detection, integrated SIM card and app connection at MEDICA 2023. In the proverbial “just in case” an emergency call is automatically made even far away from home. “MEDICA offers us an optimal platform to present our innovations in the medical sector to a broad audience. We were particularly pleased about the direct exchange with international customers and partners. This year in particular, in addition to the emergency bracelet, we had many other innovative products from the areas of blood pressure measurement, EMS training, women’s health and dental care,” says Beurer Marketing Manager Kerstin Glanzer happily.

Bosch Healthcare Solutions also knows how to take advantage of the increasing “outpatientization” and MEDICA as a business platform with a number of innovations presented for fast and reliable laboratory analyses, as Dr. Jochen Rupp, Head of Product Management Vivalytic, emphasizes: “Testing directly at the point of care will become more and more established in times of skilled labor shortages and digitalization. MEDICA offers us the opportunity to expand networks and make new, industry-relevant contacts. On the one hand, it is a home game for us, but it also enables international networking.”

“Hot Topics” on all stages – political celebrities were involved.

In addition to the numerous innovations, the highlights of every MEDICA traditionally also include the diverse supporting program with visits and appearances Celebrity. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (connected digitally) and North Rhine-Westphalia Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann took part in the discussions on the major hospital reform in Germany and the associated significant changes in care structures as part of the opening event for the accompanying 46th German Hospital Day. If the number of clinics decreases in the future and the range of services offered by clinics in a clinic network varies, clever solutions are required to ensure the necessary treatments. Accordingly, NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst was right on trend with his visit agenda. During a MEDICA tour (on November 15th) he found out about telemedical care models at the new special show ‘HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE’ in Hall 12. The focus was on concrete solutions for telemedicine networks within the clinical area as well as at the interface to the outpatient care sector. The German Society for Telemedicine and the University of Aachen were responsible for organizing the special show.

Top speakers provided “technical flavor” and orientation.

The “hot topic” artificial intelligence was discussed in numerous sessions and from different perspectives in the conferences and forums accompanying the trade fair. World-renowned AI experts such as Bart de Witte , Prof. Paul Lukowicz or Prof. Dr. Aldo Faisal ensured the correct technical classification. This involved both more specific questions, such as the extent to which ‘ChatGPT’ can be of medical use (e.g. in the “translation” of complicated doctor’s letter formulations into a generally understandable language), but also more fundamental aspects.

Bart de Witte dedicated himself, for example, to B. as a specialist for digital transformation in healthcare in his keynote at the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM, among other things, the “big picture”. He currently sees a very critical point regarding the use of AI in the healthcare sector and calls for a “democratization” of medical AI. Storing medical knowledge in digital form should not only be in the power of a few tech giants. It must be generally accessible. Otherwise, the potential use of medical AI is also very limited.

The MEDICA stage program had many other highlights to offer. This included, for example, the final of the 12th MEDICA START-UP COMPETITION (on November 14th). This time, the start-up Me Med from Israel won the annual competition for outstanding digital innovations in the final pitch with an immunoassay platform for carrying out highly sensitive, fast, multiplex protein measurements. Meanwhile, a development team from Germany emerged victorious from the final of the 15th ‘Healthcare Innovation World Cup’: Diamontech presented a patented, handy tool for non-invasive, painless blood sugar measurement.

COMPAMED: Key technologies for the medicine of the future

If you wanted to convince yourself of the performance of the medical technology industry’s supply sector, a visit to Halls 8a and 8b was a must. As part of COMPAMED 2023, around 730 exhibiting companies from 39 nations demonstrated their special expertise in key technologies for use in medical technology, medical devices and medical technology production with many innovations. The range of topics in the five experience worlds ranged from microcomponents (e.g. sensors), microfluidics (e.g. technologies for liquid management in the smallest installation space for use in test applications in laboratory medicine) to materials (e.g. ceramics, glass, plastics, composite materials). ) to sophisticated cleanroom packaging solutions.

Two specialist forums integrated into COMPAMED provided an in-depth insight into current technology trends as well as research and development of the processes and new products on display. In addition, a lot of practical information was provided on relevant medical technology foreign markets and regulatory requirements regarding market approval.

“I am pleased to see that international cooperation was once again a strong focus at COMPAMED this year. I think this is particularly important, especially in times of global crisis. The exhibitors at our joint stand are also happy about the high international visitor frequency and are very satisfied with the quality of these contacts,” says Dr. Thomas Dietrich, Managing Director of the IVAM – Microtechnology Association, drawing a positive conclusion from the trade fair.

All information about what is happening live during the trade fair (including many voices from the exhibiting companies and the trade audience) is available online at: https://www.medica.de and https://www.compamed.de .