Last week nearly 130,000 medtech professionals converged in Düsseldorf, Germany for the world’s largest medical trade fair, MEDICA and Compamed. Although the long walk through all 19 halls of the massive event was more of the same (general supplies, equipment and commodities) that one would see at any tradeshow, it also revealed some clear shifts in the global healthcare landscape. And these are not trends—they’re here to stay.
“MEDICA is always reflective of what’s happening in industry,” Joachim Schäfer, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, told MedTech Intelligence during an interview at the event. The show has grown internationally among non-German attendees, driven by the growing medtech industry in Asia and South America. Regardless of the region, however, it was fairly obvious that many companies are taking the proactive approach to healthcare in general. The Internet of Things (IoT)—smarter, connected devices—is enabling the growth of predictive medicine, with sensors playing a bigger role than ever, as their capabilities expand while functioning within a smaller footprint.
Schäfer named some technology highlights among the 5,000 exhibitors (413 of which hailed from the United States) at MEDICA this year:
- Minimally invasive surgical products, especially endoscopes and cameras
- Connected devices that leverage big data and enable physicians to take preventive measures. “Technology is being driven by digitization, chips, and electronics, and more intelligent collection and analysis of data,” said Schäfer.
- Technologies that leverage genomics
- Expanded material capabilities, especially in additive manufacturing
Schäfer recently talked about some more medtech trends at MEDICA, including the role of digitization, smart technologies and 3-D in the operating room, in a MedTech Intelligence column.
“Big data, perhaps more appropriately called smart data, compiles and evaluates enormous amounts of patient data in order to gain knowledge about the development of and effective therapy for certain diseases. The biggest players in this new digital healthcare economy are Google, Apple, Microsoft and IBM. These companies are currently investing enormous sums, for example, in the development of artificial intelligence, which can be applied to the R&D of algorithms for automated image analysis.” – Joachim Schäfer
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