MEDICA 2017 – Studying the Latest Medical Device Trends in Europe’s Largest Medtech Forum

TforG prides itself in actively and passionately following, studying and understanding the latest developments in global healthcare markets. This year, for the 25th year in a row, we visited one of the world’s largest and most international trade forums, MEDICA, in Germany.

Top decision makers from around the world come together at MEDICA and see the huge breadth of products and innovations on offer. Not surprisingly, product developments consistently reflected the drive to make devices quicker, smaller, more multifunctional, less invasive, easier to use and digitally more interconnected, permitting telemedicine and the sharing of know-how/experiences.

Six trending categories that will become significantly more important in 2018 could be identified:

  1. Digital medicine – successfully networked
  2. Where medicine and research meet
  3. Diagnosis at a glance
  4. On the way from manufacturer to user
  5. Medicine smart and mobile
  6. One stop diagnosis and analysis

Read more, to enjoy some of the trend-category specific products and drivers that TforG´s Business Intelligence team observed (we explored 4 of the 6 trending topics), and find out how and what is shaping our modern healthcare medtech markets.

1.     Digital medicine – successfully networked

Paradigm shifts in communication, data sharing and digitalized data interpretation mark this generation of technological history. Big data, artificial intelligence, eHealth, telemedicine, wearables, online Medical platforms, health IT solutions, monitor-based software applications – are all emerging in and evolving the world of healthcare.

The list of data storage and interpretation-capabilities, and the interconnectivity (between existing and new data sets) is extensive.

Our TforG Business Intelligence team reports back on the following interesting products, that demonstrate the capacities and opportunities present within digital medicine:

  • DocCheck comprises the largest (1.2 million registered members) online community of Medical professionals in Europe. The platform serves to exchange experiences with peers, network, and share knowhow.
  • iHealth offers a range of digital products to measure health indicators such as blood pressure, glucose, weight and fitness, and links them to smartphone-designed software, to support individual wellbeing and allow the users to keep track of vital health indicators.
  • Medset – PADSY is a monitor-based vital body signs-reading software, allowing care providers to diagnose and evaluate the patient’s status. It is applicable to ergometry, diagnostic ECG, long-term ECG monitoring/analysis, spirometry, CO-measurement, and long-term blood-pressure analysis.
  • 3D Histech created high-performing hardware and software to digitalize pathologies and transformed the pathology workflow by introducing digital slide scanners that are capable of quick and efficient focusing, allowing teleconsultation through a quick digitalization of microscope slides.
  • QOCA (Quanta Omni Cloud Care) offers a range of products to facilitate diagnostics and monitoring, in the fields of dentistry, telehealth for elderly and supporting families, and to bolster inpatients’ information access and comfort.

WINNER of the best App-based Medical Mobile Solution 2017

MEDICA also hosts an annual competition for the best App-based Medical Mobile Solution.

This year’s winner is iSikCure. It is multifaceted tool designed for the African healthcare market. It serves all stakeholders involved and seeks to provide an all-around care, payment, and procurement system via smartphone:

  • Connecting patients to care providers, from doctors to labs and pharmacies.
  • Allowing the care user to pay via their mobile phone.
  • Tracking appointments and adherence, and facilitating access to a second medical opinion.
  • Evaluating carers’ and suppliers’ reputations through user ratings and price listings.
  • Helping care providers to procure drugs from wholesalers through a mobile ordering system.

2.     Where medicine and research meet

Laboratory work is the backbone of medicine; researching, discovering, and understanding the essence of pathogens and the significance of biomarkers is key to finding treatments and cures.

Safer and less invasive analysis approaches and greater automatization

  • More and more suppliers are offering one-stop-shop systems for PCR testing, which provides non-stop automation of nucleic acid extraction, PCR setup and qPCR; thus maximizing efficiency.
    These systems also provide an increment in the throughput of PCR tests, i.e. up to thousands of tests per hour.
  • Near-infrared (NIR) light is being applied, which is absorbed by the patient’s tissue and reflected back to the device. The data is then processed and an image is projected back on to the skin, providing real time visualization where the veins are located.
  • For several years now, safety needles have been growing in popularity; this is also strongly driven by increased healthcare regulatory frameworks in different countries. This trend was also visible at MEDICA, through a wide range of safety needle designs.
  • There is also a clear increase of the number of measures, applications, and types of evaluations that a single analysis device can perform.

Increased use and design of disposables

  • Ready-to-use disposables are being manufactured on scalable process chains with microtechniques and macrocomponents, to create customized molds of disposables, reagent storage and capping fixtures.
  • All-in-one cartridge are being developed for devices that measure a variety of blood indicators. The cartridge is innovative by containing all sensors, reagents, waste bag, tubing and sample probe all within a single cartridge. It is user-friendly, compact, and ensures little to no need for maintenance of the analyzer.

3.     Diagnosis at a glance

The most crucial drivers in this category (i.e. diagnostic imaging, referring to X-ray devices, ultrasound diagnostic, CT, MRI, and more), are continuous technological improvements in soft- and hardware. This enables the combination, upgrading and reinvention of imaging technology, where automated data-interpretation software can be installed to assist and accelerate the analysis for care providers.

Trends and drivers observed include:

  • Devices are emerging to visualize organs and other parts of the body in 2D or 3D, live and direct on screens.
  • The use of cloud-based installations, eliminating need for local storage and vastly expanding accessibility to the data.
  • Compiling data and applications in a single device, or a single screen
    • In the past, many numerical indicators were shown on a screen and the care provider had to go over them one by one. Now it is possible to group several criteria together into one KPI.
      Furthermore, due to more screen space, multiple KPIs can be displayed and monitored simultaneously, transforming screens into functional dashboards and reducing the number of clicks needed to access and process data.
    • Colour codes are being used to support a quick interpretation and to indicate whether an action must be taken. For example, devices will mark certain data in red if the measured criteria are outside of established/programmed acceptance ranges, and green when they are in order.
  • A strong example of a device that compiles several functions into one is the Angiodin-Sono/P, an ultrasound machine, offering 5 functions within one device, including liver function diagnosis, which was previously performed by MRI scanners. User-friendliness is emphasized, reducing the need for specialized personnel, and space is saved, since less machines are required.

4.     One stop diagnosis and analysis

In light of continuously seeking ways to accelerate and optimize the use of time and resources when providing care, this product group places the spotlight on point-of-care (POC) tests. These allow care providers to evaluate the samples from -and tests performed on- their patients (almost) instantaneously.

POC products presented offered most, if not all, of the following attributes:

  • Reduced size
  • Reduced blood sample requirements
  • Less analysis-time
  • Connectivity to PC
  • Bluetooth
  • Voice recognition
  • Enhanced memory capacity

POC products are desired in niche markets such as cruise ships, sports clubs, ER, mining/oil fields and other remote/isolated areas like first aid and hospital camps, and disaster and refugee camps.

Blood glucose measuring devices hold 40% of the POC market worldwide
A thriving and competitive market in this field was also reflected abundantly at MEDICA.

  • As mentioned earlier, devices are combining more analytical functions within a single unit. Small devices are able to perform 8 individual types of blood analysis including uric acid, creatinine, urea, total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, blood ketone, and hemoglobin.
  • Self-testing glucose-measuring devices to be used with a smartphone were also notably popular. They are telemedicine tools, easy to use, facilitating interactive (digital) contact with one´s care provider.
  • Portable systems that deliver results in 12 minutes, reading 31 blood chemistry tests, including liver, kidney, metabolic functions, lipids, electrolytes, and more, were also presented. These tests are performed via a mechanism of 16 independent reagent discs.

 

In summary, MEDICA once again offered a diverse and impressive collection of the latest trends in healthcare devices and solutions, where the principal drivers of new and popular technologies were: quicker, more efficient and accurate, more user-friendly and greater digital interconnectivity (with other stakeholders, or with an easily accessible screen/smartphone).

About Laura Weynants

Performs primary and secondary market research to create country reports at TforG. Interviews KOLs and medical sector professionals to build on TforG’s healthcare market expertise and competence networks. Complementing five years of sustainability policy and CSR communication, she now focuses on grasping key medical market trends, structures and opportunities in medical sectors worldwide. Coming from an international background of living in Germany, Spain, USA, UK and Belgium, she has gained a keen insight in international organizations and language skills to perform first hand investigations. She graduated from Sussex University Brighton, UK with a BA English Literature and Sociology and achieved a Master Degree in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility in EOI Business School in Madrid, Spain.