Medica and Compamed Wrap Up Another Successful Year

By Charles Sternberg, Associate Editor | 11.17.23

Innovations took center stage at the event for healthcare professionals.

After four days, the Medica and Compamed trade fairs in Düsseldorf, Germany, have confirmed their positions as platforms for global medical technology business and professional exchange at the highest level.
“Contributing factors were the strong appeal to international visitors, the high proportion of decision-makers, the high-caliber accompanying program and the unique variety of innovations along the entire added value chain,” summarized Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, looking back at business in the halls of the internationally leading medical trade fair and the flagship event for suppliers in the medical technology industry.
From November 13 – 16, the 5,372 exhibitors at Medica 2023 and the 735 companies at Compamed 2023 provided 83,000 healthcare professionals (81,000 in 2022) proof of their expertise in the realization of modern healthcare in medical practices and clinics – from the supply of high-tech components to high-performance consumer products.
“About three quarters of our visitors travelled to Germany from abroad. They came from 166 countries. Both events are therefore not only leading trade fairs in Germany and Europe, the figures also demonstrate their great importance for global business,” said Christian Grosser, Director Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf.
U.S. exhibitor participation at both trade fairs was again strong: 381 exhibitors showcased their product at Medica 2023, with 157 participating in the two U.S. Pavilions, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America. At Compamed 2023, 83 U.S. companies displayed their innovations, with 20 exhibitors participating in the U.S. Pavilion also organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America.
The "push" for cooperation and international business from Medica and Compamed is significant for the industry. This is emphasized by current reports and statements from industry associations.
Even though the medical technology market in Germany is at the top in Europe with a volume of around Euro 36 billion, the export quota of the German medical technology industry is estimated at just under 70%.
“Medica is a good marketplace for the strongly export-oriented German medical technological industry to present itself to its (potential) customers from all over the world. It attracts many international visitors and exhibitors,” said Marcus Kuhlmann, Head of Medical Technology at the German Industry Association for Optics, Photonics, Analytical and Medical Technologies (SPECTARIS).

Innovations for Better Health: Digital and Powered by AI

Whether at the trade fair, conferences or specialist forums, this year's focus was particularly on the digital transformation of the healthcare system in the context of the increasing "outpatientization" of care and networking between clinics.
Other trends included solutions based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and supporting systems such as robotic systems or solutions for implementing more sustainable processes.
The innovations presented by exhibitors included an AI-controlled wearable to improve sleep quality (by stimulating the brain through precise neurofeedback signals), an energy-saving yet effective cryotherapy procedure as well as robotic systems for diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation – from robot-aided ultrasound examinations and cardiovascular surgery without physical contact of the instruments when navigating through blood vessels to upper body mobilization of bedridden patients.

Top Speakers Addressed “Hot Topics”

In addition to the numerous innovations, the highlights of every Medica traditionally include the diverse ancillary program with celebrity visits and presentations. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach participated (by video call) in the opening ceremony of the accompanying 46th German Hospital Day and in the discussions concerning the major hospital reform in Germany and the significant changes this will bring to the structure of available healthcare.
The “hot topic” of artificial intelligence was discussed in numerous sessions and from a variety of different perspectives in the conferences and panel talks that accompanied the trade fair.
World renowned AI experts such as Bart de Witte, Prof. Paul Lukowicz and Prof. Dr Aldo Faisal provided the necessary scientific background. They addressed both very specific issues, such as the extent to which 'ChatGPT' can be of medical benefit (for example by “translating” complicated phrases in letters written by physicians into generally understandable language) as well as more fundamental aspects. Bart de Witte, as a specialist for digital transformation in healthcare, addressed the “big picture” in his keynote speech at the Medica HEALTH IT FORUM. He currently sees a very critical point in the use of AI in the healthcare sector and calls for the "democratization" of medical AI.

Digital Innovations: Start-Ups on the Stage

The Medica stage program had many other highlights to offer. These included the finals of the 12th Medica START-UP COMPETITION (on November 14). The annual competition for outstanding digital innovations was won this year in the final pitch by the start-up Me Med from Israel with an immunoassay platform for performing highly sensitive, fast, multiplex protein assessments.
A developer team from Germany took first place at the finals of the 15th ‘Healthcare Innovation World Cup’: Diamontech introduced a patented, easy-to-use tool for non-invasive, painless measurement of blood sugar levels.

Compamed: Key Technologies for Medicine of the Future

During Compamed 2023, 735 exhibiting companies from 39 countries presented a wide range  of innovations, demonstrating their expertise in key technologies and their use in medical technology, medical devices and medical technology manufacturing.
The spectrum of topics in the five experience worlds ranged from micro components (e.g. sensors) and microfluidics (e.g. technologies for managing liquids in the smallest spaces, for use in test applications in  laboratory medicine) to materials (e.g., ceramics, glass, plastics, composite materials) and sophisticated packaging solutions for cleanrooms.
Two specialist forums integrated into Compamed provided an in-depth insight into current technology trends and the research and development of the exhibited processes and new products. In addition, practical information was provided on relevant foreign medical technology markets and regulatory requirements with regard to market approval.
“I am happy to see that there was again a strong focus on international cooperation this year at Compamed. Especially in times of global crises, I think this is very important indeed. The exhibitors at our joint booth, too, are happy about the high international proportion of visitors and very happy with the quality of these contacts,” said Dr Thomas Dietrich, Executive Director of the IVAM International Microtechnology Business Network.