Medicine in a digital world...

24th September 2018
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Medicine in a digital world...

The health industry is going through a period of dramatic change. We are seeing more and more digital solutions throughout the patient journey - at every stage from prevention and diagnosis to treatment. Medicine 4.0 can only work on the basis of collaborative efforts at the point where the medical and engineering disciplines overlap.

The electronica Medical Electronics Conference (eMEC) has been introduced as a platform for this partnership. It will be held for the first time on 15th November 2018.

Electronics are at the very heart of innovations within the medical technology sector. There are already plenty of examples of vital developments from the past, such as X-ray machines and pacemakers. And now, as health care becomes increasingly digitised with networking, smart data analysis, and telemedicine, electronics have come to be an integral element. The result of this is further market growth, which is boosted by aging and booming global populations as well as by a greater focus on individualisation within medicine.

On that basis, Global Market Insights is anticipating that the international medical electronics market will generate sales of $148bn by 2024, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12%. According to marketsandmarkets, the turnover for medical IoT devices is expected to be just under $64bn by 2023, with a CAGR of 25%. The same analysts are also forecasting a little over $132bn for the global e-health market by 2023.

All of this opportunity is, however, offset by a whole host of risks that are not to be underestimated. For instance, the market concentration is set to continue to rise alongside the competition from emerging markets. Not to mention that huge IT companies from outside of the industry (the likes of Google and Apple) are on the verge of advancing into the first health market given that many innovations in future are going to be based on data and software.

Plus, regulatory requirements surrounding market and product approval, such as the amended EU Medical Device Regulation, slow down the rate of growth and bring about considerable costs. And then there are the serious security risks associated with online networking (IoT).

All of these issues will be covered at the first ever electronica Medical Conference (eMeC) and at the Medical Electronics Forum at electronica.

electronica Medical Electronics Conference (eMEC) - the debut
In 2018, the spotlight will be shining on medical electronics for the very first time when the field has its own dedicated conference (November 15, ICM—Internationales Congress Center München).

The event will see doctors and electronics engineers entering into discussions about the future of the medical sector. The issues covered will include smart medical devices, cloud computing, data security and sovereignty, blockchain technology, collaborative robots, smart contracts, usability, artificial intelligence, telemedicine, and Medicine 4.0.

Alongside the traditional keynote speeches and presentations, the electronica Medical Electronics Conference (eMEC) will also be opening up the stage to innovative formats of discussion to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue:

  1. Podium discussions encourage the audience to get actively involved, providing a suitable platform for controversial but results-driven exchange.
  2. Open space discussions are in-depth discussions held in small groups. There is no script to follow and the process and results are left open to the very end.
  3. 'Date a problem' is the name given to sessions where doctors and electronics engineers discuss problems at length at the venue and come up with solutions together.
  4. 'Pros & cons' sessions involve two people going head-to-head in front of an audience. Who will have the strongest arguments? It’s down to the audience to decide by voting electronically.

Medical Electronics Forum - all things wearables
The focus of the Medical Electronics Forum (Hall C3, Stand 534 in the morning on 16th November ) is on wearables. After all, they are set to have a major impact on the health care sector and medical treatment.

Once they are connected to the Internet, they enable doctors to monitor their patients’ health remotely and give constant care to chronically sick people. Older people will also be able to live independent lives in familiar surroundings for longer thanks to wearables. Plus, smart analysis of the data will allow for the health care system to be optimised even further.

Medical electronics - the exhibitors
Medical products and services can mainly be found in the exhibition areas covering embedded systems, sensors, printed circuit boards and other bare circuit carriers, wireless technology, power supplies, and micro and nano systems.

Bosch Sensortec (Hall C3, Stand 522) will be showcasing a range of sensors for wearable applications that constantly measure vital parameters.

Analog Devices (Hall C4, Stand 111) will have implantable MEMS inertial sensors on display that consume very little energy and can be used to monitor patients at an increased risk of having a fall, for example.

The small differential pressure sensor from Sensirion (Hall B3, Stand 417) plays a crucial role in treatment in smart inhalers.

Mektec (Hall B4, Stand 530) produces flexible printed circuit boards that are essential for medical devices. Made in clean rooms, they are extremely thin, lightweight, and durable.

Thanks to the microsensor system from Fraunhofer IMS (Hall C3, Stand 409), patients with glaucoma can measure their intraocular pressure and temperature via an implanted sensor without the need for any contact to be made.

The Heinz Nixdorf Chair of Biomedical Electronics (Hall B5, Stand 450) is the first port of call for the development of customised solutions in telemedicine, as well as for lab-on-a-chip devices.

The Hahn Schickard Association (Hall A1, Stand 443) has developed a high tech screwdriver with built-in sensors for the medical process of distraction osteogenesis, allowing patients to adjust settings themselves.


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