Medica Statement

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Statement by Horst Giesen, Global Portfolio Director for Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf regarding MEDICA 2018 (November 12 – 15 in Düsseldorf, Germany)

For years, almost no other industry has been shaped so much by sustainable growth as the medical technology industry and its suppliers. Furthermore, there are practically no other industries in which it is so imperative to remain at the cutting edge of progress and gain information on new products, trends and technology, which are presented at the MEDICA trade fair in particular, a world-leading industry platform in this area. The structure of the market is changing constantly. Even within specific regions of the world, the market situation can be radically different, depending on the nation and the approval processes for medical technology systems and products can also differ from each other dramatically.

Taking a look at Europe proves this remarkably well. In Spain, Ireland and Romania, the sales curve for medical technology is on the up, thanks to widespread economic recovery and a need for investment that built up during the years of the credit crunch. Demand is also high in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. However, in Germany, Italy and France, progress is slower than it could be - the key word here is “investment slowdown”. While austerity is creating obstacles within the healthcare systems here, the current political developments and subsequent currency deprecations in some places put the brakes on access to the market and businesses in Turkey and Russia. The upcoming Brexit also produces more obvious limitations.

One challenge that is faced across regions is increasingly strict regulation for product approval. This equally concerns both manufacturers and their suppliers, although smaller and middle-sized companies also have to put up a good fight against the obligation to fill out increasingly complex and comprehensive documents and create reports, which results from a multitude of EU directives and guidelines, for example the Medical Device Regulation or the REACH (Registration Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals).

A market-influencing factor such as this bring up many questions for visitors and exhibitors at our internationally organized MEDICAlliance specialist trade fairs. They need to know how to set their own businesses on the right track internationally and come together with the right partners. Messe Düsseldorf offers the communication and information platforms that have been tailored to meet specific needs.

In addition, the innovation cycle demands that we consistently remain up to date. For medical technology and products, this cycle is incredibly short. To give an example of its effects, German manufacturers gain a third of their turnover from products that are less than three years old. This means that MEDICA in Düsseldorf is a hotspot for the latest products and developments for service providers every year, all within the scope of current trends.

Digital transformation is also shaping the world of medicine
Currently, digital transformation is the primary force shaping the health economy and radically changing processes and business models worldwide. Our program of events at MEDICA 2018 takes this into consideration, both in presenting product ranges from over 5,000 exhibitors from 70 countries and in the spectrum of topics covered at the accompanying conferences and forums. We stay on top of these high priority topics and highlight them from different perspectives, ensuring that we consider the different target groups carefully. The communication and information platforms, MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM and MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM (including the MEDICA App Competition), organized within the scope of MEDICA, attracted over 8,000 visitors last year and will definitely be popular segments this year.

The discussions, presentations and speeches in these forums will focus on essential digitalization and IT trends such as opportunities to implement artificial intelligence, big data analysis via algorithms and cyber security measures. Innovative products and technology will also be presented - from wearable technologies and telehealth to robotics and apps.

The main strength of MEDICA is that it does not limit itself solely to clinical and practice IT and the fairly rigid framework of the national telematics infrastructure. It shows us digital trends and best practices for connecting stakeholders in the health industry that effect many nations. Already, it has become apparent that the theme of “Patient Empowerment”, i.e. the management of healthcare data being considered the responsibility of the patient, is becoming more significant this year.

You are your own doctor: E-Files are coming soon
Following the enactment of the E-Health Act, applications for electronic patient files are being planned in Germany, in conjunction with an electronic health card. The first solutions developed by health insurance agencies, namely the electronic health records (eGA) for use on smartphones or PC, are ready to be launched and tested and are scheduled to be available soon. At the same time, leading technology and software groups in the smartphone sector want to expand the health apps in their operating systems by adding health record applications (for example, the Health Records app in iOS).

Discussions at MEDICA 2018 should result in an answer to the question of how available the service providers in the health industry will make these types of digital solutions to patients. Aspects linked to this, such as the new HL7 FHIR - the standard for mobile communication in healthcare, or the economy platform’s attack on healthcare data, will thus be dealt with in the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM, for example.

AI for optimal cooperation between humans and machines
Another important concept is artificial intelligence (AI). The long-held fear concerning AI, namely the suspicion that doctors and healthcare staff would be replaced by learning, automated working systems and robots in the future, has long been refuted. With their innovations, MEDICA exhibitors are proving that this fear is unfounded. Instead of replacing workers, these modern working methods are best described instead as “advanced intelligence”. Here, humans and machines work hand in hand to ensure that the best of both worlds is merged together. Examples of this are seen in diagnostic imaging. Here, AI ensures that the radiation zone in CT scans can be delimited optimally, or that data recorded in MRI or CT systems can be pre-analyzed before the actual findings are determined by the radiologist, no matter whether the subject studied is a fracture, tumor or an infection point. AI acts similarly in fully automated calculation of care cases, which means that the human workforce can concentrate primarily on following up abnormalities and more complex cases.

MEDICA START-UP PARK – A platform for creatives
The premiere of the MEDICA START-UP PARK in 2017 was very successful and this new platform for the creative start-up scene has now been made a firm fixture in MEDICA’s program. In Hall 15, young companies can present their ideas, primarily those for the digital health sector, and meet potential business partners. Magnosco from Berlin will be among the participants this year. The development team will present an application for early detection of skin cancer which uses a combination of laser technology and artificial intelligence. NUVOAIR from Stockholm has also registered for the MEDICA START-UP PARK in order to introduce their Air Smart Spirometer. Last year, they laid excellent foundations at MEDICA by participating in the MEDICA App COMPETITION and winning second place. The “Air Smart Spirometer” enables lung capacity to be measured easily at home by asthmatic or COPD patients, using a combination of hardware and an app.

Current topics in medical practices
Following its premiere in 2017, the MEDICA ACADEMY will be held again this year, as a certified further education event for physicians from various medical fields. In addition to practical courses on devices (e.g. ultrasound) and updates on general medical diagnostics and therapeutic issues, digital topics will also be on the program, in form of best practices for telemedicine.

Other program highlights at MEDICA 2018 will include the DiMiMED conference for disaster and military medicine and the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE (both on November 13 and 14 in the Congress Center Düsseldorf South) focusing on prevention and sports medical treatment concepts. The conferences will be held in English and are geared towards an international audience.

The 41st German Hospital Conference (November 12 – 15), a leading communication platform for decision makers from hospitals, specifically addresses the German specialist audience, as does the MEDICA PHYSIO CONFERENCE. With its treatment-oriented presentations, it is directed towards the professional scene of physiotherapists, sports medicine specialists and orthopedists (November 14 and 15 in the Congress Center Düsseldorf South).

Other forums integrated into the MEDICA trade fair will include the MEDICA LABMED FORUM (trends from the medical laboratory sector), the MEDICA ECON FORUM (healthcare policy between industry, political entities, insurance companies and patient representatives) and the MEDICA TECH FORUM (market-relevant topics ranging from the medical industry to science and legal conditions).

The entire diagnostic and therapeutic workflow in one place
The MEDICA specialist trade fair is oriented around a broad diagnostic and therapeutic workflow in medical care and has the following clearly defined focal points: Electromedicine / medical technology (approx. 2,500 exhibitors), laboratory technology / diagnostics, physiotherapy / orthopedic technology, commodities and consumables, information and communication technology, medical furniture and specialist furnishings for hospitals and practices.

COMPAMED 2018 will again take place concurrently on all days of MEDICA 2018 in Halls 8a and 8b. With around 800 exhibitors, COMPAMED is the leading international market platform for suppliers of the medical technology industry. Last year, MEDICA and COMPAMED attracted 123,500 trade visitors from 130 countries.

The German Federal Minister of Health to attend MEDICA opening
The German Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, will open MEDICA 2018 and the German Hospital Conference on November 12. He will also share perspectives for health policies during the current legislative period at the MEDICA ECON FORUM.

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