Visitors and exhibitors were in good spirits throughout – personal encounters once again take centre stage
After their four-day run as an in-person event, MEDICA and COMPAMED have achieved extremely successful results in Düsseldorf. From 15 to 18 November 2021, the world’s leading information and communication platforms for the medical technology industry and its supplier sector presented a wealth of convincing innovations as well as an accompanying programme that covered a wide range of topics (supplemented by digital offers) and did justice to their internationally prestigious position. “The atmosphere in the trade fair halls was relaxed and characterised by a sense of optimism throughout; conversations with our customers have shown that in many cases, we have exceeded expectations. People were finally able to establish new and intensify existing contacts in person,” says Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, visibly pleased as he takes stock of the past days.
46,000 visitors (with an international share of 73 percent) from 150 countries seized the opportunity to engage in person with the 3,033 MEDICA and 490 COMPAMED exhibitors in Düsseldorf, obtaining information on the comprehensive range of innovations for outpatient and inpatient care, including every step of their development and manufacture, and trying out many innovative products live in the trade fair halls.
“The numbers are encouraging, and were hardly expected to be at this level in spring. With the combination of trade fair events and digital supplements, MEDICA and COMPAMED have given the industry strong stimuli. The exhibitors are happy to have come to Düsseldorf and are already actively inquiring about options to take part next year,” says Christian Grosser, Director Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, thus reflecting the positive signals fed back by participants and trade associations alike.
The industry portals MEDICA.de and COMPAMED.de added a range of offers in line with the live events at the trade fairs. This allowed users to access livestreams to watch the stage programmes of all expert forums that had been integrated into the trade fairs as well as the 44th German Hospital Conference and the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE; network via the special Matchmaking tool; and obtain information on innovative products in the exhibitors’ online showrooms.
Growth despite challenges provides plenty to talk about
Despite continuing restrictions in international transport, Germany’s Association for Electromedical Technology (ZVEI) has predicted a growth of eight percent for the global electromedical technology market in the current year. “As a hybrid in-person event, MEDICA has given exhibitors and visitors a vital platform to discuss innovative medical products and current trends in the field of medical technology, both face-to-face and online. In doing so, the fair supports exhibitors in their work on European and international markets,” explains Hans-Peter Bursig, Managing Director of the Electromedical Technology Trade Association at ZVEI.
Marcus Kuhlmann, Head of Medical Technology at German industry association SPECTARIS, also highlights the importance of MEDICA and COMPAMED when it comes to exports and close business ties to other countries. “In order to shape the health market of tomorrow together, with innovative ideas and concepts, we need a strong industry network within the medical technology sector. Personal dialogue remains irreplaceable, even in this era of digital transformation, and our members had really looked forward to it after a pandemic that has now lasted more than one and a half years. We were therefore even more delighted than usual to attend MEDICA and COMPAMED in person in Düsseldorf this year, and obtain new stimuli for the medical technology industry.”
Together with ZVEI, SPECTARIS organised the MEDICA TECH FORUM (in Hall 9 and as a livestream), which dealt with questions around international market access and regulatory requirements for medical technology. Here, the forum focused in particular on the national markets in Africa, the USA and the United Kingdom as well as the Russian healthcare system’s specific digitisation needs, for example in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
The industry furthermore currently faces one issue that is extremely challenging and was accordingly much discussed and showed a need for additional information, not just among forum participants but throughout the halls of MEDICA and COMPAMED: the application of the new EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR). “In principle, it is appropriate and essential to regulate medical technology, as this guarantees an extremely high level of patient and user safety across the board. But we need to critically question any regulations that do not sufficiently contribute to an increase in safety and retract them if necessary. If we don't, we weaken Europe’s position as a research and innovation location,” says Marcus Kuhlman of SPECTARIS.
Digital care of tomorrow – start-ups heavily involved
As expected, COVID-19 and the findings gained to date while managing the pandemic with regard to the implementation of new therapeutic approaches and care concepts were recurring themes in many talks at the forums and accompanying conferences. The MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE, for example, took a closer look at how to get back into sports after suffering from long COVID, while the MEDICA ECON FORUM (organised by German health insurance company Techniker Krankenkasse) and the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM focused on digitising processes in the healthcare system.
In line with these themes, exhibitors offered many innovations for the clinical and outpatient field. And the young start-up scene was heavily involved as well, something that was impressively proven during the thrilling pitch competitions held as part of the 10th MEDICA Startup COMPETITION and the 13th Healthcare Innovation World Cup, which took place on the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM programme stage.
The 13th Healthcare Innovation World Cup focused on innovative devices and smart applications for digital networking and process integration, with an eye to the Internet of Medical Things. From among 300 entries, the jury selected 12 start-ups for the finals on 15 November. Germany-based Implandata Ophthalmic Products took first place with an implanted and biocompatible microsensor for use in glaucoma telecare.
Ideas ranged from artificial intelligence (AI) and health apps to robotics at the 10th MEDICA Startup COMPETITION (on 16 November). Here, Finland-based Phonolyser made it through the finals and took first place with its eponymous product solution, a smart heart sound analyser. The analyser combines artificial intelligence (processing and analysing signals), Doppler technology (ultrasound) and sound analysis to comprehensively assess and examine congenital heart defects.
Suppliers: a host of topics on the agenda, a host of innovations on board
Trends along the entire process chain of medical technological manufacture and product developments dominated both the trade fair business of exhibitors and visitors at COMPAMED (which took place in Halls 13 and 14 this time around) and the stage programmes of the two integrated expert forums. Innovative substances played just as great a role as printed electronics, smart sensor solutions and microfluidic options to resolve challenges in point of care diagnostics.
“COMPAMED 2021 was a great success for the exhibitors. The feedback on our joint stand was excellent; because of the pandemic, some of the exhibiting companies had subdued expectations, and were pleasantly surprised by the excellent visitor numbers. Many of them also praised the outstanding quality of the visitors,” says Dr Thomas R. Dietrich, Executive Director of the IVAM International Microtechnology Business Network, visibly pleased as he sums up events at the trade fair.
With its joint stand, IVAM once again was one of the largest exhibitors at COMPAMED. 42 companies and institutes from nine countries were represented at this fair alone, presenting a range of innovations that included various microcomponents, solutions for smart textiles and coatings as well as manufacturing and processing methods.
Information is available online at https://www.medica-tradefair.com and https://www.compamed-tradefair.com.
Date of the next MEDICA in Düsseldorf: 14. to 17/11/2022
Date of the next COMPAMED in Düsseldorf: 14. to 17/11/2022