Digitization has fed into all aspects of supply and buzzwords such as networking, big data, and artificial intelligence are dominating the technical discussions and are already influencing product development in concrete ways. Expert professionals will be able to gain insights into all the developments—be it during the presentations and talks at the MEDICA Connected Healthcare Forum, during the MEDICA Health IT Forum, with the help of the exhibitors' new products and even through an App competition.
More health applications for smartphones, tablet PCs and wearables—applications that are already being increasingly accepted in the practical world—will be presented within the medically relevant contexts. Forty-five percent of German smartphone owners are already using health apps and another 45 percent can see themselves using them. A further 60 percent of people in Germany approve of the concept of an electronic patient file that could be used to store their medical data.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another topic with which the healthcare sector is becoming increasingly preoccupied. Consequently, it will be on the agenda at this year's Health IT Forum (Hall 15). A robot that is able to automatically set up needles for infusions and biopsies was already presented to an amazed expert audience at MEDICA 2016. This example shows that what previously seemed pure science fiction is currently on the threshold of becoming reality in concrete and plausible applications. This is also the case in the field of medical imaging, for instance. The first applications to use AI for the automated detection of possible tumours on the basis of digitally generated image data from CRT or MRT systems are about to be launched on the market.
Watch the video below for an overview of this year's event:
At a press event in advance of MEDICA 2017, Prof Dr. Jochen Werner, medical director at the University Clinic of Essen, predicted that AI will revolutionize the health sector. “Artificial intelligence is going to change the field of medicine forever. It is going to optimise and accelerate diagnostics and help to make treatments more personal. The work of physicians is going to change fundamentally,” he noted. Werner emphasised that AI was not an end in itself, but rather be used to the benefit patients and help physicians concentrate on their core tasks.
Medical applications based on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also advancing. One of the product highlights at MEDICA 2017, for instance, is going to be the ‘3D-ARILE’ AR system for surgery that projects the precise location of lymph nodes on data goggles worn during surgical interventions, providing valuable assistance within the framework of tumor operations. Also premiering at the show is piece of physiotherapy equipment that patients recline on while wearing a pair of VR goggles on to which a flight through a mountain landscape is projected as the unit makes the corresponding treatment-relevant movements.
The New and the Tried-and-Tested—Conferences and Forums
With the aim of meeting the needs of the international professional public both now and in the future, the program for the accompanying conferences and the forums integrated into the trade fair have, over recent years, been radically restructured and have always been complemented by new formats dedicated to topical subjects.
Creative startups are, for instance, playing an important role in the digitization of healthcare and specifically in the field of wearables for vital diagnostics. Thus, a special platform will be dedicated to them for the first time at MEDICA 2017 with the new MEDICA Start-Up Park in Hall 15. “The company founders and their small teams of developers are simply bubbling with ideas. What they need is a boost. That is why we will be matching them up at MEDICA with potential business partners, investors and sales partners from around the world,” said Dr Claudio Bucchi, the MEDICA team's trend scout and the project manager responsible for the Start-Up Park.
The MEDICA LABMED Forum in Hall 18 will also be new this year. Four themed days will be offering a range of presentations and panel discussions that will be focusing on the following highlights: preventive screening tests for cancer, cardiac and circulatory conditions, innovative diabetes diagnostic tools, infection and migration. The events will all be taking place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and are free for trade fair visitors with MEDICA tickets.
MEDICA Academy Premiere
One highlight of the conference program, the MEDICA Academy, will be launched this year. It will be dedicated to "blockbuster" topics relevant to medical practice including, updates on imaging procedures, modern surgical procedures and even an ultrasound refresher course. The MEDICA Academy will also be discussing the hand-over of practices as a highly topical subject in a seminar aimed at both young physicians looking for practices and physicians wishing to pass on their practices.
The MEDICA Academy will be complemented by other highlights from the MEDICA conference program that will span the arc between their content and new products being presented at the trade fair. The bandwidth for the 40th German Hospital Conference, for example, ranges from political health questions through aspects of financing and hospital services controls to the presentation of best-practice projects for hospital IT. This year, the Hospital Conference will again be complemented by the European Hospital Conference, which takes place every two years as a gathering that allows top decision-makers from European hospitals to swap notes.
Other highlights will include the English-language DiMiMED conference for disaster and military medicine and the MEDICA Medicine + Sports Conference (respectively on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 at Congress Center Düsseldorf South) that will focus on prevention and sports medical treatment concepts.
The MEDICA Physio Conference has also proved very popular with visitors and has therefore been a firm fixture in the conference program for quite some time. With its treatment-oriented presentations, it is directed towards the professional scene of physiotherapists, sports medicine specialists and orthopedists and is taking place this year on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 (Congress Center Düsseldorf South).
Globally Unique and Varied Presentations
Be it the new or tried-and-tested in the program, a central strength of MEDICA is and continues to be that it does not just deal with solutions for individual medical specialist disciplines but rather, it offers solutions for the complete workflow of patient treatment in one place at one time. Focuses of the MEDICA trade fair include electromedicine/medical technology (approx. 2,500 exhibitors), laboratory technology/diagnostics, physiotherapy/orthopedic technology, commodities and consumables, information and communications technology, medical furniture and specialist furnishings for hospitals and practices.
COMPAMED 2017 will be taking place in Halls 8a and 8b alongside the MEDICA 2017 trade fair on all four days. With more than 750 exhibitors, it is the driving force and internationally leading market platform for suppliers to the medical technology industry.
Last year's MEDICA in conjunction with the COMPAMED trade fair for suppliers, which is held at the same time, attracted 127,800 trade visitors from 135 countries.
Follow MPO's coverage of MEDICA/COMPAMED 2017 in our special website section dedicated to the event.