Medgadget was recently invited to Taiwan to cover the 2022 Healthcare? Expo in Taipei. As is the case for most trade shows, the exhibit hall comprised a large portion of the expo. Consisting of over 2000 exhibitors in two massive halls, the main hall showcased the best of Taiwan’s healthcare industry. Here are some notable trends we observed while roaming the aisles.
Big Tech is Invested in Healthcare
At the MedTex Summit Asia that took place during the expo (see here for our coverage), speakers from ASUS, Microsoft, Intel, and Oracle shared about how each of their companies were partnering with hospitals in Taiwan to build connected digital health products. We saw some of these products at the companies’ respective booths. As this US-based writer is accustomed to only seeing consumer electronics from most of these companies, it was fascinating to inspect medical gadgets from them! Acer, known primarily for laptops, has only been in the healthcare space for about four years and showed off a fundoscopic camera with their custom AI built-in.
ASUS is best known for consumer electronics and computer components, but has apparently been developing medical technology for over 20 years. They showed off a plethora of wearables, portable ultrasounds, endoscopy systems, and clinical monitors. Intel showcased a whole range of solutions powered by their chips, including equipment designed to be used by medical professionals, as well as server-side equipment for AI and data processing. BenQ, best known for their computer displays and projectors, had an entire mock operating suite with the company’s products.
While it may be unlikely that US readers will ever see many of these products in hospitals, it’s neat to witness these powerful consumer tech companies investing in med tech.
Hospitals Are Innovation Centers
During our first morning wandering the exhibit hall, we were surprised to see a team of cheerleaders and an enthusiastic crowd in front of one of the booths. Unlike “booth babes” and other gimmicks commonly seen at tech shows in the US, this exhibit was for one of the many hospitals on the island. We quickly learned that Taiwanese hospitals are an important and highly respected constituent in the med tech industry. Hospitals in other countries, like the US, sometimes get a bad rep for focusing on their bottom line above improving patient care, but from what we could see from the hospitals’ expansive booths, innovation is key.
Whether it was a research idea, a pilot project, or a collaboration with a company, each hospital’s booth showcased an array of medical innovations. One exhibit, called “The Grand Challenge For Doctor-To-Be”, sponsored by the Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, gave conference attendees a hands-on look on how technology such as VR/AR, smart displays, and digital diagnostic tools, are helping in both medical education and in healthcare.
We waited in line with several groups of high schoolers who we hope were inspired by this interactive exhibit to pursue a career in healthcare!
The Startup Scene is Strong
A med tech conference wouldn’t be complete with exhibits from startup med tech companies. They were scattered throughout the exhibit hall, from all stages ranging from proof-of-concept to late-stage.
Many hopeful Taiwanese startups were parked in an area called the “InnoZone”, where TechCrunch-style pitch sessions took place all throughout the duration of the conference. While this editor’s lack of Mandarin prevented him from understanding most of what was being pitched, the amount of activity and level of interest in the startup space showed that these small companies were still important. And the opportunities at the conference to potentially collaborate with large companies and partner with hospitals literally across the aisle put these ventures in a good position to succeed.
The Taiwan Healthcare? Expo at its core was a trade show. There were business deals constantly taking place, and the expo provided both a physical and virtual platform for these relationships to be made. But unlike other trade shows we’ve attended in the past, the Healthcare? Expo was a showcase of the best of Taiwanese innovation. We enjoyed seeing not just products, but partnerships in action. The synergy between startups, big tech companies, and hospitals was evident, and it serves as a model on how other countries can better innovate to improve the lives of their people.
Medgadget wishes to thank Ms. Silvia Fan and the Taiwan Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry for hosting our trip!