OTWorld 2022: Industry Festival with an Explosion of Innovations
Orthopaedic Treatment and Care Industry Celebrates Relaunch
Sensory prosthetics, a superhero suit for neurogenic disorders, sustainably produced orthoses made from recycled materials – the future of orthopaedic treatment and care was on display at OTWorld from 10 to 13 May. At the World Congress and leading world trade show at Leipzig Exhibition Centre, health influencers such as Caroline Sprott, Ms Anna and Alex as well as prominent users of medical aids such as Fabian Hambüchen, Dirk Nowitzki, Markus Rehm, Johannes Floors and Samuel Koch demonstrated how orthopaedic treatment and care can change lives. 18,800 prosthetists and orthotists, orthopaedic footwear professionals, doctors, and physiotherapists from 86 countries were won over by displays and lectures from over 440 exhibitors and 300 congress presenters. Every third visitor to the trade show came from abroad. A delegation from war-torn Ukraine was also present.
"OTWorld is like an international class reunion. Experts from all over the world and from all disciplines come together here. It's all about professional exchange and friendly arguments about the best treatment solutions – and how to make them accessible to patients. Personal exchange is especially important in difficult times," comments Alf Reuter, President of the German Association of Orthopaedic Technology (BIV-OT). "It was long overdue, and this was noticeable in every hall and every room: The interpersonal aspect – a mutual interest in other people's experiences – makes all the difference. It's only via collegial exchange of experiences that our field can grow and develop. This year we were able to concentrate entirely on this exchange. And anyone who missed one lecture or another can simply check it out in the digital media library. I'll certainly need to catch up on one or two myself," Reuter continued.
Leading Global Event With Highest Proportion of Decision-Makers
The high proportion of decision-makers particularly underlined the level of interest in new treatment options in a time of supply shortages, rising prices of raw materials, heightened hygiene demands and the beginning of a new era worldwide. At 51 per cent, OTWorld 2022 was able to claim the highest proportion of decision-makers in the event's history.
"I am very glad that the first on-site OTWorld in four years was such a success. Over 90 per cent of exhibitors and visitors experienced a successful show, are intending to participate again, and would recommend the event," says Martin Buhl-Wager, Managing Director of Leipziger Messe. "The strong international presence is particularly impressive. This shows the significance of international exchange for participants from both Germany and abroad. The overall high level of satisfaction reflects the fact that the representatives from industry, craft and trade all regard OT world as an essential event for the presentation of innovations and industry exchange."
Focus on Patients
As always, the central focus of both the World Congress and the leading world trade show at OTWorld was the struggle to find the best quality of care. Everything revolves around the patients and their individual needs and requirements. In Leipzig, the medical aids industry turned its attention away from intensive care patients to the care of patients with chronic illnesses, disabilities and injuries. Patients spoke about the twofold changes to their lives – firstly, due to the injury or illness and secondly, due to their individual orthopaedic treatment and care from industry professionals. Exhibitors and speakers introduced numerous new care concepts that could change people's lives. "Ensuring that these concepts find their way to the patients is the task of politicians and health insurers," the BIV-OT president warned.
Numerous politicians and health insurance representatives took the opportunity to visit OTWorld. At OTWorld's opening on 10 May, German Federal Health Minister Prof Dr Karl Lauterbach thanked Germany's retail surgical stores and technical orthopaedic workshops for sustaining orthopaedic treatment and care during the pandemic.
Digital Production and Personal Exchange
For years, technical orthopaedic workshops have been the drivers of innovation in digital production. This year, OTWorld showed an even higher level of digital presence – from the event's Start-Up Zone to the regular exhibitors. For the first time, new opportunities for emotional and professional exchange were available via the #otworld and #otworld22 hashtags on Instagram and LinkedIn. Health influencer and lipedema patient @powersprotte wrote, "After the lockdowns, this trade show felt like a big class reunion and some really great ideas sprouted up that we want to get rolling and let everyone know about." Exhibitor @protiq_gmbh: "It's unbelievable how many exciting conversations we have been able to have here at OTWorld in the past two days – and how broad and open the industry is in the area of additive manufacturing."
Avoiding Tunnel Vision and Keeping an Interdisciplinary Perspective
In Leipzig, a who's who of the world of prosthetics and orthotics shared knowledge, experience and ideas with more than 300 speakers. Congress Presidents Prof Martin Engelhardt and Dipl.-Ing. Merkur Alimusaj spent two years crafting the programme, with symposia, beacons of international cooperation and courses.
"In recent decades, medical training as well as advanced and further education have been recklessly neglected in the fields of both amputation surgery and conservative technical orthopaedics. Existing expertise is now only rudimentary. Technicians, who are capable of dramatically improving patients' quality of life, are being neglected entirely. The know-how that has made German medical treatments amongst the best in the world is in danger of being lost," explained Prof Dr Martin Engelhardt, OTWorld Congress President. "This is why, for me, the World Congress at OTWorld, which was put together with the participation of 20 international professional societies, is amongst the leading orthopaedics congresses. Here in Leipzig, conservative technical further education takes place at a very high level. Without tunnel vision and always with an interdisciplinary perspective." At this year's World Congress, the congress presidents placed a focus on the subjects of paediatric care, register research and sports orthopaedics. "The options for treatment and care in sports orthopaedics show particularly clearly what is possible and how dramatically technical treatment can improve people's quality of life in this area," Engelhardt says.
Exhibitors and Speakers Highly Satisfied
Speaker Harmen van der Linde, who travelled to OTWorld from the Netherlands, praised the interdisciplinary approach at the World Congress. "OTWorld stands for interdisciplinary cooperation in action. Everyone meets here on equal terms and the professional exchange is of a very high level," explained the physician, who specialises in rehabilitative medicine. "OTWorld will remain a permanent fixture in my congress calendar in the years to come."
The exhibitors also summed up their experience in positive terms. "It's the sector's only large trade show – that's OTWorld's distinguishing feature," emphasized Peter H. Franzel, Head of Global Events, Exhibitions & Sport for the exhibitor Ottobock. "OTWorld has a special significance. The national and international orthopaedic treatment and care industry meets here to present itself with dedication, commitment and vision. Leipziger Messe has again proven itself to be the perfect trade show location, says Thomas Geiger, Director of Sales for Bauerfeind AG. Melissa Hobbs, Head of Corporate Communications for medi GmbH & Co. KG also gives some very positive feedback. "OTWorld is a shining beacon for our industry. We managed to bridge the past two years with digital formats, but the industry needs to meet in person as well. It thrives on exchange at events that allow people to experience the products. This year's edition of the trade show demonstrated that." Anica Meiertoberens, Event Manager at enovis, comes to the same conclusion. "The contact with other people is the most important thing for us here. We are happy to be a part of it and finally be able to have good conversations with our customers. For us, the international audience here is a real additional benefit compared to other trade shows."
OTWorld's new digital features were also well received. "OTWorld is the industry's largest trade show; its international character makes it special. The combination of digital formats with the opportunity for direct interaction makes this trade show unique," explains Fabian Christopher Jung, DACH Marketing Director at Össur Germany.
The next get-together of the orthopaedic treatment and care industry at OTWorld will be from 14 to 17 May 2024 in Leipzig.
OTWorld is the largest leading international industry platform for all manufacturers, distributors and service providers in the field of modern orthopaedic treatment and care. The International Trade Show and World Congress OTWorld targets orthopaedic technicians, orthopaedic shoemakers, rehabilitation technicians, therapists and doctors, engineers, the medical trade and insurance companies' employees with a unique range of products and services. The next OTWorld will take place from 10 to 13 May 2022 in Leipzig as an international on-site event with a supplementary digital programme.
The German Association of Orthopaedic Technology (BIV-OT) is OTWorld's conceptual partner. The owner of the OTWorld brand and organiser of the congress is Confairmed GmbH. Leipziger Messe GmbH is responsible for the trade show.