Medica and CompaMed 2022 Wrap Up Successful Events Despite Turbulent Times

By Charles Sternberg, Associate Editor | 11.21.22

The international healthcare industry remains active when it comes to searching for business alternatives and reliable partnerships.

At their recent concurrent staging, MEDICA, the leading medical trade fair, and COMPAMED 2022, the leader for the medical technology supply sector, again underscored their positive results from the previous year with strong numbers – despite continuing difficult conditions.
Read MPO’s full coverage of MEDICA and COMPAMED here.
More than 81,000 visitors from various sectors of the global healthcare industry came to Düsseldorf, Germany. Over 5,000 exhibitors from 70 nations presented a variety of innovations for modern outpatient and clinical care – including all components, products and processes for their development and production. The share of international trade visitors was 75%. After the European countries, trade visitors from South Korea, the U.S. and visitor groups from India and North African countries were also represented in large numbers.
“Showing your flag, presenting convincing innovations, intensifying networking: These are the means of choice for companies to demonstrate strength in a challenging market environment. MEDICA and COMPAMED, with their international appeal and the visitor’s high degree of decision-making authority, offered the best opportunities for this, “ said Erhard Wienkamp, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, underlining the prominent role of both events as platforms for the global healthcare business.
Among the top decision-makers visiting MEDICA 2022 was German Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach. He took part in the opening event of the 45th German Hospital Day and outlined the key points of the planned hospital reform. Also among the MEDICA guests were H.E. Prof. Ron Prosor, Ambassador of Israel, Mona Neubaur, Minister of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia, Pauline Kao, Consul General of the USA and Setsuko Kawahara, Consul General of Japan.
U.S. exhibitor participation at both trade fairs was again strong: 378 exhibitors showcased their product at MEDICA 2022, with 172 participating in the two U.S. Pavilions, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America. At COMPAMED 2022, 76 U.S. companies displayed their innovations, with 16 exhibitors participating in the U.S. Pavilion also organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America.

Cooperation and Communication

In a dynamically changing market environment, medical technology companies are relying more than ever on cooperative ventures – both in terms of production, marketing, sales and after-sales services – in order to be able to reliably offer customized solutions for hospitals and outpatient care across national borders.
For these reasons, MEDICA is an ideal starting point for international business, as Yvonne Glienke, Managing Director of the medical technology network Medical Mountains, emphasized: “MEDICA is an important platform for us and the companies in our network to expand contacts and find partners for joint projects. Both aspects come together at the MEDICA TECH FORUM. Here, for the first time, we were able to contribute our expertise alongside the industry association SPECTARIS and also organize a networking evening. Cooperation and communication are the driving forces to advance the medical technology industry.”
The forum, jointly organized by the industry association SPECTARIS and Medical Mountains, provided an overview of medical technology topics that are of particular relevance today. Among others, the sessions on aspects of product approval, certification issues or market peculiarities in relation to selected country markets such as the UK, Norway and China were well received by the MEDICA audience.

Focus on Digitalization

Covid continues to be a “regular” topic. Not least as a result of this, the digitalization of healthcare has become an even greater focus in almost all countries. And a strained personnel and cost situation among service providers is driving product development toward innovative solutions for smart processes.
In context of the Covid pandemic and the increasing trend towards outpatient treatments in healthcare, products and services for the point of care, i.e. for patient-oriented diagnosis and treatment, remain in high demand. With the title “COVID-19: The Challenge Remains”, the MEDICA LABMED FORUM provided an appropriate medical perspective and bridged the gap in terms of content. Current challenges were discussed, based on ever new virus variants, and the need to improve both diagnostics and therapy (keyword: vaccine development) to be adjusted accordingly. Detection of new viral variants, immunity testing using antibody and T-cell assays and approaches to developing a universal COVID-19 vaccine were among the topics the contributions focused on.
The ”booster” for the digitalization of healthcare and the demand for smart processes benefits the (digitally driven) start-up scene. During the trade shows, they were offered a variety of options to present themselves. This included the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM as a dialogue platform on digital health trends with integrated pitch competitions especially for start-ups and the MEDICA START-UP PARK in form of a large group stand with again about 40 companies.
The competition for the 11th MEDICA START-UP COMPETITION, which annually focuses on outstanding digital innovations, was won in the final pitch by the start-up IDOVEN from Spain with a cloud-based, AI-supported platform for ECG analysis.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics with Practical Benefits

The selection of other innovations presented by start-ups at MEDICA 2022 ranged from a palm-sized system for wireless monitoring of the unborn and ultrasound heads with special contour-fitting capabilities to other numerous solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI), such as for the precise diagnosis of neurocognitive disorders based on eye movements or the simplified keeping of electronic medical records.
During MEDICA 2022, researchers at Fraunhofer IPA presented a system for patient anamnesis during admission to clinics that will no longer require the immediate presence of medical staff. Sophisticated sensor technology ensures the automatic recording of vital data and an avatar assists in questioning the patient.
The trend toward automated processes was also confirmed by Axel Weber, Vice President Sales Medical Robotics, KUKA Deutschland GmbH (Robotics Division): “MEDICA is the largest medical technology trade fair in the world. We participate in the trade fair because it is the ideal platform for us to present our innovative technologies. With our robotics, we are shaping the medical technology of tomorrow. One trend is the increase of more autonomy in systems in medical technology. In the future, these will be able to perform more and more tasks independently thanks to numerous sensors and supported by artificial intelligence. This is already the case in rehab, for example. In the future, though, we'll see it more and more in surgery.”

Health Tips from Olympic Athletes

During all trade fair days, visitors were able to meet winning Olympians – not only in form of virtual avatars but also live: Heike Henkel, Olympic high-jump champion, and Lars Riedel, Olympic discus throw champion, were a popular attraction at the MEDICA SPORTS HUB – a new action area in the middle of the physiotherapy theme segment.
In short presentations and supplemented by small exercises to participate in, the focus was on tips and tricks for healthy training, proper nutrition, team success and aspects of mental health. On these topics, Heike Henkel and Lars Riedel were able to report not only from their experience as sports professionals but also from their current active lives. As a certified mental coach, Henkel advises competitive athletes, while Riedel is a passionate golfer. On every day of the trade fair, he invited visitors to participate in a special golfer's warm-up to establish the perfect rotation of the body. As a sought-after brand ambassador in the medical sector, Riedel knows MEDICA well: “It's always exciting here to see how products and technology evolve.”

Subcontracting: Cutting-Edge Know-How for Technologies

In many cases, an important foundation for top performance using cutting-edge technologies (e.g., for vital data acquisition) is provided by the approximately 700 companies participating in COMPAMED in Halls 8a and 8b. They provide the medical technology industry with a complete range of high-performance components and digitalized solutions, such as sensors, batteries, chips, biocompatible and ultra-tight coatings and radio modules for mobile diagnostic devices (including wearables), implants and laboratory equipment.
Microfluidics is currently a particularly popular topic and was therefore the subject of two program sessions at the COMPAMED HIGH-TECH FORUM held by the IVAM trade association. The handling of liquids in the smallest of installation spaces is significant for laboratory medical test procedures and, as a result of the Covid pandemic, has been constantly the focus of attention.
The next staging of MEDICA and COMPAMED will be held from November 13 - 16, 2023 in Düsseldorf, Germany.