IHS Markit recently attended the world’s largest medical trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. With an attendance of over 120,000 visitors, the buzz around all things medical was very clear. Attendees ranged from healthcare professionals with a vested interest in learning more about innovative technologies, to dealers looking to establish relationships with new manufacturers.
Over the years, there has been a significant change in the presence of major healthcare technology manufacturers. This year saw a lack of exhibition from top-performing manufacturers such as GE Healthcare, Draeger Medical, and Maquet Critical Care. Many exhibitors are starting to transform how they are interacting with their customers; greater focus is being placed on attendance at care area specific events, where a captured audience of customers can learn more about product innovations. This year, newer technologies from smaller vendors were interspersed with the bigger vendors, creating a maze of interesting solutions targeted towards a market that is growing in complexity. Furthermore, vendors that would have previously been housed in halls amongst their country companions had shifted to the larger product-focused halls (halls 9-12). Gone are the days of large exhibits from a handful of vendors located in one hall.
With some exhibitors changing how they present their new and upcoming products, IHS Markit is seeing an evolution in the changing medical device market. Exhibitors are investing time to educate customers on new product launches, on product features, and on developments to enhance their user experience. With an increasing patient population and limited physician resources, customers are seeking innovations that enable them to do more with less. Manufacturers want to ensure the improvements that are being made to improve the ease of use of products is reaching their users in a more direct approach.
There is a defined shift in how healthcare is being provided, making way for newer start-ups that are wanting to take a piece of the medical pie. The hub of innovation was experienced in the MEDICA connected health forum and the MEDICA health IT forum, both located in their own dedicated hall (hall 15). The key trend to digitalize healthcare was more than apparent, with endless discussions on wearable and connected health; the Internet of Things (IOT); artificial intelligence (AI); and elder care.
Discussions focused on innovative technologies that can help improve the quality of patient care, with a driving demand for connected home care solutions. In a reaction to limiting healthcare resources, there is a defined attempt for patients to become more involved and proactive in their own treatment pathways, taking on more responsibility to monitor themselves as their illness progresses. Greater emphasis is being placed on preventative healthcare, and the market is reacting to this in many novel ways.
As one of the largest medical exhibitions, MEDICA is a key indicator of how the medical device market is changing, with the care continuum increasing in importance. It will be interesting to see how the show shapes up for 2019.