Medicine′s Future is Digital | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 20.11.2001
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Medicine's Future is Digital

Gone are the days of grandma's evil tasting home remedies as MEDICA, the world's largest exhibition for the healthcare sector opens its doors in Düsseldorf on Thursday.


Some 3.600 exhibitors from 58 countries will show the latest medical equipment at MEDICA 2001 in Düsseldorf, like the ECG machine for home use pictured here.

One thing is very clear at this year's exhibition, the future of medicine and healthcare is in the binary code of digital technology. Over 3,600 exhibitors from 58 countries will present the latest in medical technology at the MEDICA fair which runs until 24 November.

MEDICA highlights the trends in medical development and the impact that they will have on the consumer. The medical technology of the future is very "Matrix" like but will enable more accurate diagnoses from Doctors. This means that consumers can expect more effective treatment. Thereby reducing healthcare costs, helping to combat the statutory healthcare insurance providers' deficit that is currently DM 5 billion per half-year.

The writing's on the wall Gone too, are the days of a patient file crammed full of Doctor's notes with illegible scribbles. The advent of completely digital patient files will allow detailed diagnoses, enhanced communications processes, more convenient long-term archiving, easier access to patient data plus the elimination of costly, multiple data collection and storage procedures. Moreover, Doctor's needn't worry about whether everyone can read their writing either. Here's hoping that the server never goes down!

Steady on Doc! MEDICA's exhibitors are also unveiling promising breakthroughs in the field of electro-medical equipment (no, it's got nothing to do with administering electrical shocks). Computer-assisted surgery systems will allow doctors to simulate surgical procedures in 3D quality before scrubbing up, effectively providing them with a practice run before doing any damage.

This new technology also lets the surgeon know when he or she is not going according to the plan. If the surgeon deviates from the points of incision previously entered into the computer or risks drilling too deep, the instrument begins to vibrate in his or her hand by way of warning. This will help prevent grave medical malpractice providing they get it right on the machines first.

Break a leg

Also on show at MEDICA is a pioneering ultrasound procedure that helps heal bone fractures, where the patient can perform the procedure at home. Recovery time is also substantially shortened.

120,000 visitors are expected to attend MEDICA. Trade visitor registration will not be carried out, as the fair is open to the general public.

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