The largest, most attended, EBME Expo took place on 28th-29th June 2023 attracting many clinical engineers and other healthcare professionals, discussing key issues relating to healthcare technology, operating theatres, training and procurement planning. The EBME Expo 2023 was held at the Coventry Building Society Arena. This year we had additional conferences and workshops for the delegates. The 46 speakers across all 3 conference areas were very well received by the delegates, and a considerable amount of knowledge and innovation was shared.
There were many positive comments from the delegates about the new audio systems we introduced, which used wireless headphones, instead of floor standing speakers. The headphones were used across all the conference areas, enabling the delegates to focus on the speakers, without hearing the background ‘hustle bustle’ of the exhibition stands which could otherwise be distracting. Also, not having the drapes really opened up the space, and allowed the exhibitors and visitors who were not in the conference areas to see the stages, and who was on each stage.
The conference programmes offered a valuable insight into how we buy, use, maintain and manage healthcare technology – in operating theatres, diagnostic centres, at the hospital bedside, in virtual wards, and in war zones. The speakers engaged with key issues around training, human factors, new technologies (including AI), cyber security and the associated threats with networked medical device technologies. One speaker, Iryna Rybinkina gave a particularly moving presentation discussing the issues of mobilising ambulances, and emergency medical technology in war-torn Ukraine. Iryna returned home to Ukraine and set up the ‘Smart Medical Aid Charity’, which raises funds and procures medical equipment and supplies for the war effort in Ukraine and also provides medical and paramedical training for the medics working on the frontline.
Mark Fordham (left), a medical engineering trainer from Eastwood Park, explained the important role of clinical engineers during his presentation on defibrillator waveforms.
A continuous theme coming from many of the speakers was the importance of AI. The speakers explained that Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the field of medical diagnosis.
Some of the discussions centred around general applications:
Accuracy: AI algorithms can be trained on large datasets of medical images and other data, which can help them to identify diseases more accurately than human doctors. For example, one study found that an AI algorithm was able to detect diabetic retinopathy with 94% accuracy, compared to 86% accuracy for human doctors.
Speed: AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of data much faster than human doctors. This can help to speed up the diagnostic process, which can be especially important in cases of life-threatening diseases.
Efficiency: AI algorithms can automate many of the tasks involved in medical diagnosis, such as image analysis and data interpretation. This can free up human doctors to focus on other tasks, such as providing patient care.
Accessibility: AI algorithms can be used in remote areas where there are few qualified doctors. This can help to improve access to quality medical care for people in these areas.
In operating theatres, AI can:
Guide surgeons during surgery - AI-powered surgical robots can provide surgeons with real-time guidance and assistance during surgery. This can help to improve accuracy, precision, and safety.
Detect and prevent complications - AI can be used to monitor patients during surgery and detect potential complications early. This can help to prevent serious problems and improve patient outcomes.
Optimize surgical workflows - AI can be used to optimize surgical workflows and reduce the risk of errors. For example, AI can be used to automate tasks such as setting up equipment and preparing instruments.
In addition to these benefits, AI is also being used to develop new diagnostic tools and treatments. For example, AI is being used to develop new drugs and to identify new biomarkers for diseases. Overall, AI has the potential to make a significant impact on the field of medical diagnosis. By improving accuracy, speed, efficiency, and accessibility, AI can help to save lives and improve the quality of care for patients.
I must finally thank all the exhibitors who displayed the latest technologies, services, training solutions, and delivered incredible educational workshops for the delegates. The drinks reception was also a new addition – Thank you to MTS Health Ltd for sponsoring this in honour of Paul Austin, and the new ‘Apprentice of the year award’. It was lovely to relax at the end day 1, and socialise with so many wonderful colleagues who decided to stay for the reception.
I was pleased to be able to meet so many of the exhibitors who all expressed their thanks for developing the EBME Expo into what it is today, but we couldn’t have done that without the organisers, AV teams, build teams, and Coventry Arena Staff. A big thank you goes to BtoB Events, who work meticulously to ensure this event goes ahead without a hitch.
The exhibition space is already 85% sold for 2024, with many new and exciting companies coming along to show us their latest technology. I look forward to seeing you all at the EBME Expo 2024 on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June. Don’t forget to put these dates in your diary!
Dr John Sandham