O&P in the digital age
Digitalisation is the highlight subject at OTWorld 2018
In an era of scanning processes and 3D printing, traditional crafts such as orthopaedic or orthopaedic-footwear technology are constantly developing further, as is the medical-supplies trade. Digitalisation can create an added value for the provision of medical aids. This year, OTWorld will be looking at the status quo of digital technologies which are already established in manufacture and retailing, and at those which could gain a foothold in the future. In this process the task ahead is that of exploiting the opportunities of digital progress over and beyond the mere workshop. Along with innovative products and production processes, the focus will therefore be on exciting incentives for customer approach through modern shop design or e-commerce.
That digital processes should determine the provision of medical aids is no longer a vision of tomorrow’s world, but a fact of today’s. In Germany many businesses have long recognised the opportunities which they offer and are already working with digital patent files, CAD programs for model building, or 3D printers in place of milling machines. In the production chain itself many medical aids are already provided with barcodes, in order to allocate them rapidly to the patient and to the production status in question. The many technical developments make it possible to design patient care more effectively and efficiently. Yet the use of digital technologies is heavily dependent on the state of technology, its costs and profitability, and particularly on the quality for the end consumer. In the last resort the quality of patient care remains the measure of all things.
OTWorld looks at the progress in O&P
This year, too, OTWorld will be giving a comprehensive overview of the current status of patient care with medical aids and their production. 3D printing and modern treatment processes are now established in the sector and have already been shown in Leipzig at previous OTWorld events. Now is the time to discuss which digital processes have actually proved successful, what benefits they bring, and what challenges will arise for the future. Both the international trade show and the world congress will be devoted to the whole range of digitalisation, will be showing both tried and tested processes and new developments, and will be reflecting the discussion underway about the use of these new procedures.
Digitalisation from theory to practice
Digitalisation will be a subject constantly in the foreground over the entire world congress, in which leading world institutions, such as the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the Fraunhofer IPA, the Delft University of Technology, Münster Polytechnic, the Paracelsus Private Medical University, the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, the University Hospitals of Balgrist and Heidelberg, and the Universities of Pittsburgh and Southampton, will be taking part.
What will be the line of development to the printed prosthesis, and what possibilities and limitations currently exist in lower-thigh prosthesis? What impact will the application of CAD/CAM have on quality factors in seat-shell manufacture? How effective is scanning technology as an assistant procedure in the production of neuromuscular corsets? These and other questions will be the subject of a symposium entitled “Digitalisation – an assessment of practical experiences for use in the practice”. The focus here will also be on experience of digitalisation in footwear manufacture and the prospects for such digitalisation in the future, and on the integration of a digital process chain into the workflows of the modern orthosis workshop.
Subjects up for discussion in further talks will include Options and limitations of brain-computer-interface-controlled neuroprostheses for grasping, or the impact of robotics on rehabilitation. This last question will be the subject of a talk by Professor Robert Riener of Zurich National Polytechnic. He will demonstrate the opportunities available from the latest rehabilitation technology, but will also consider the current shortcomings and future risks of these technologies for people and society.
3D printing: from a futuristic vision to a present-day fact
Additive manufacture will be of high importance both at the world congress and the international trade show. Among other subjects, experts from the industry will be considering latest advancements in digital shaping of prostheses and orthoses. Standards and tests for clarification of liability issues and quality deficits of 3D-printed prostheses will form part of the agenda, as will corset supply from a 3D printer in everyday clinical practice. A further symposium will study specialist, additively manufactured medical aids. These include, for example, prosthetic feet tested and certified under ISO guidelines up to Category K4, individual liners, and made-to-measure lower-thigh orthoses with improved material properties. Discussion will further cover certification of structural stability for individualised 3D printed orthopaedic aids.
Forum Digital Manufacture: for the first time the trade show will feature a free-access podium programme focusing on digital manufacturing (Hall 1, Stand F38). Various firms will be showcasing software which makes digital manufacturing processes efficient and transparent, will be discussing the strengths and weaknesses of 3D printing, and demonstrating where this technology stands, or how the industry can change it in the coming years. Topics will also include the digital manufacturing of mouldings and a 3D platform for optimum foot scan.
A more thorough examination of digital manufacturing will be provided especially for orthopaedic footwear professionals in the course of a guided tour of the fair. Various exhibitors will be showcasing their products in this field, looking forward to the possibilities of patient care tomorrow. The number of tour participants will be limited and registration via the OTWorld Ticket Shop is necessary.
Medical aids of the future: digital provision
Numerous exhibitors will be using the opportunity to launch their new products and developments on the market exclusively via the sector’s most important platform. Linings and orthoses from 3D printers, concealed sensors in the flooring to measure gait, or scanning apps for mobile patient-data recording without a plaster impression – these and many other products based on digital technologies will be showcased at the international trade show. And firms will be offering workshops to study, for example, how CAD/CAM programs can be adopted in the O&P industry, or to demonstrate innovative pressure-measurement technology for movement analysis. The focus will also be on future billing processes from the shop till to the accounts department.
Digitalisation in the retail health sector
Digitalisation is spreading not only in the workshop but in the salesroom, too. Since suppliers such as pharmacies, chain stores and internet dealers are increasing the pressure of competition in the sale of medical aids, medical retailers of the traditional shop variety need to do something to attract customers to their sales floors and to keep them there. OTWorld will be looking forward to the retail trade of tomorrow, supplying practical recommendations which can be put into practice here and now, and featuring exciting incentives from other industries. A special show entitled “Pavilion of Shop Design”, for instance, will demonstrate how product presentation can be combined with digital elements. That customer loyalty can also work apart from shop business and is becoming more important in the digital age of online shopping, will be the subject of a talk by marketing expert Gada von Bohr at “Retail Forum”.
The International Trade Show and the World Congress OTWorld represent a unique offering for orthopaedic technicians, orthopaedic shoemakers, rehabilitation technicians, therapists and doctors, engineers, medical supplies retailers and staff of health insurance companies and healthcare funding organisations. In 2016, OTWorld attracted 21,300 visitors from 86 countries, together with 542 exhibitors from 43 nations. The steering organisation for OTWorld is the German Association of Orthopaedic Technology (Bundesinnungsverband für Orthopädie-Technik). The OTWorld brand is owned by Confairmed GmbH, who also organise the Congress. Leipziger Messe GmbH is responsible for the trade show.
Ms Karoline Nöllgen
Phone: +49 341 678 6524
Fax: +49 341 678 166524
Press speaker BIV, Bundesinnungsverband für Orthopädie-Technik
Ms Kirsten Abel
Phone: +49 231 557050-27