Top decision makers negotiate top partnerships - business relationships change in a fundamental manner
Once again, the world’s biggest medical trade fair MEDICA and the leading international supplier trade fair COMPAMED, which take place in Düsseldorf, have provided a powerful stimulus for the international medical technology industry. For each of the four days of the fair, from 14 to 17 November 2016, specialists from all sectors of the health industry ensured that the daily intake of visitors was consistently high (in total: 127,800 visitors) in the trade fair’s 19 halls, which were fully booked by exhibitors. In addition to exciting topics which have been “electrifying” everyone in the sector, no matter where they are from (the keyword here is digitisation), it has been noticeable that, above all, the business relationships between providers and clients have fundamentally changed. Pure product orientation is a thing of the past. Medical technology companies negotiate systems partnerships with hospitals and medical facilities that are designed for the long term within the scope of comprehensive process optimisation.
“Now more than ever, medical technology companies are focusing on top decision makers on the demand side, particularly those from hospital management and purchasing bodies. MEDICA fully lives up to this trend. Over 80 percent of our trade visitors have significant decision making power”, summarises Joachim Schäfer, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf. Other factors could come into play for the MEDICA 2016 exhibitors (numbering over 5,000, the largest number of exhibitors to date) with respect to export business, which is experiencing a particularly high growth rate. Joachim Schäfer explains: “The MEDICA, as a space for global business and creating contacts in all important markets, is simply unmissable. Our trade visitors came from over 135 different countries, with Asian emerging countries being particularly well represented once more. Around 60 percent were international visitors, which is a new high.”
The significance of this high amount of international participants and businesses at MEDICA is confirmed in the current reports from the trade associations on the business development of their member companies, submitted on the occasion of the world’s leading trade fair. According to these reports, the innovation-driven German medical technology industry is growing above all via export. “Although in a traditional market, uncertainties like Brexit or the situation in Turkey can halt growth, many emerging countries offer further great potential to combat this because of the massive investments in their local healthcare systems”, explains Marcus Kuhlmann, Leader of the SPECTARIS German Medical Technology Industry Association.
Cooperation to produce optimal solutions
Medical technology manufacturers are entering into cooperative partnerships in order to be able to offer their clients, in both the outpatient and inpatient care sectors, optimal solutions. For many businesses designated as smaller or medium sized, MEDICA offers by far the best opportunities to meet with specialist traders from all over the world and thereby improve their market presence. “MEDICA gives us an excellent platform to exchange with an international trade audience and find new distributors every year. We got to know a large number of our longstanding sales and distribution partners here”, says Nina Friedrich, Head of Marketing for LMT Medical Systems, highlighting the importance of participating in the fair. LMT presented a special incubator at MEDICA 2016. Premature babies can be transferred directly into tubes for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in this incubator, thereby avoiding wasting time transferring them into another bed. LMT worked closely with MRI manufacturers such as Philips and Toshiba during product development.
Richard Wolf GmbH provides a particularly strong example of how a provider for individual specialist products can transform itself into a comprehensive solution system provider. The company, originally known for its endoscope systems, exhibited, among other items, a new ENT diagnostic navigation system in Düsseldorf and now also offers solutions for operating theatre integration. This integration comprises the centralized control of different devices and equipment (from different manufacturers) in operating theatres. Richard Wolf GmbH underlines this change in position with a new approach to exhibiting at MEDICA. “In terms of strategy, we are now concentrating on selling entire systems as opposed to individual instruments. Consequently, we have also changed our distribution structure – we are pulling away from general traders and converting to distributors with expertise in specialist fields. We use MEDICA in the traditional manner to find new contacts within the market”, says Jürgen Steinbeck, CEO of the Richard Wolf Group, describing the targeted process. This is similar to SECA’s approach. SECA has been exhibiting at MEDICA right from the beginning. Previously a specialist in scales, SECA has vastly broadened its range of expertise:
If we compare our portfolio today with the first time that we came to MEDICA, we can clearly see that we are progressively developing into a hardware and software provider. We no longer manufacture scales alone, but also measuring stations that communicate with each other and service systems to make everyday medical practice easier.
Connected and mobile – digitisation, the word on everyone’s lips
One subject that currently affects almost all exhibitors and visitors equally, and which was also on everyone’s lips in the conference halls, is the rapidly advancing digitisation of the healthcare industry, which aims to connect the actors in the treatment process. Hans-Peter Bursig, Chairman of the ZVEI Electromedical Technology area of competence, sees a fundamental requirement for personalised patient-centred care within this and simultaneously the optimal response to the demographic change and the demands it places upon the healthcare system:
As patients use digital care solutions such as telemonitoring and medical apps, patient-centred healthcare can become a continual process. Now, the quality of treatment for chronic illnesses, which increase in onset with age, is improving vastly.
The forums integrated into MEDICA offer a range of solutions that fit this theme which many of the visitors have used. At the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM (Hall 15), some of the topics discussed included factors for success in the implementation of medical apps and concrete examples of digital healthcare aids which are recommended by experts involved, such as doctors. MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM took current developments and new products in the area of wearables for medical use as its main theme. The MEDICA App COMPETITION constituted one of the highlights here. 15 development teams from all over the world competed in a challenge to create the “Best Medical Mobile Solution”. The victor was “Up Right”, a combination of an app and a weareable from a development team from Israel. This application helps to optimize posture and stimulates movement. It vibrates on the user’s back as soon as they sit in a slouched position.
Diverse conference programme proves to be an expert magnet
The essential market trends were also expanded upon with the content of MEDICA’s accompanying conference and convention programme, which were oriented to target groups. “Joints and Joint Replacement” was this year’s main theme at the MEDICA PHYSIO CONFERENCE, to give one example. In highly attended lectures, the extent to which physiotherapy, sports or spiral dynamic movement and therapy offer effective therapeutic strategies was explored for those who wish to optimise the condition of their joints, including artificial joints. Other conferences which should be mentioned include the international military and disaster medical conference DiMiMED as well as the MEDICA MEDICINE SPORTS + CONFERENCE. At this conference, specifically created for the specialists from the sport and preventative medicine sectors, general possibilities for increasing physical and mental performance (exemplified in training programmes for Luftwaffe pilots) were discussed as well as effective implementation of wearables for monitoring vital signs and injury prevention, to give two examples.
The 39th German Hospital Conference offered over 2,100 participants a multitude of health politics and practice-oriented sessions as part of this year’s general theme of “Shaping the Future”, serving as a significant communication platform for clinical management. The diverse content ranged from quality requirements and hospital planning and clinical IT to central challenges for investment financing. The most famous visitor was the German Federal Minister of Health, Hermann Gröhe, who caught up on selected innovations for modern and connected patient-centred care on a tour of the exhibition after the opening of MEDICA 2016 and the German Hospital Conference.
Suppliers - the best partners for product development
In connection with MEDICA, COMPAMED was held for the 25th time. COMPAMED is a leading event for the supplier market in medical technology manufacturing. In both halls (8a and 8b) the 19,000 visitors could find information on innovations and relevant trends in product development from the 774 exhibitors from 37 countries, as well as in two expert forums. In addition to the presentations on everything from components and materials to comprehensive service provision for the medical technology industry, COMPAMED has become a hotspot for complex high-tech solutions for procurement, production officers, developers and also for research. This year, compact and mobile electronics and the benefits and challenges of 3D printing were the main focus, with aspects of the increasing digitisation of patient centred healthcare also being focused on yesterday, as was the case in all the other conference halls.
Dates of the next MEDICA + COMPAMED in Düsseldorf: 13 - 16 November 2017