30.10.2018 IFAS confirmed as popular hub for the healthcare industry

IFAS confirmed as popular hub for the healthcare industry

Exhibitors were delighted with the high quality of visitors


IFAS, the trade fair for the healthcare market, remains a very popular meeting place for the industry. From 23 to 26 October 2018, around 16,000 visitors came to the 35th IFAS event in Zurich to find out about the latest trends and developments. The trade fair thus built on the success it enjoyed in 2016. The “IFAS Innovation Challenge” startup competition, which was held this year for the first time, met with great interest and was won by the startup Scewo with the world’s first wheelchair that can climb stairs.


Show Director Heinz Salzgeber is pleased with how the trade fair went: “With the high quality of visitors, 401 exhibitors, the IFAS Forum, the “Hospitality in Healthcare” special exhibition, the IFAS Innovation Challenge and the integrated job fair CareFair, IFAS once again formed the most important hub for the industry.” According to an independent survey, visitors were very impressed with the expertise on show at the trade fair, the exchange of knowledge and the networking opportunities available.

The majority of exhibitors are also satisfied, applauding the high quality of visitors. “IFAS is the most important trade fair for us,” says Stefano Prosia, Head of Sales at Bigla Care AG, “Although the total number of visitors we received was lower than at IFAS 2016, they were definitely better in terms of quality.” Rolf Häller, CEO and Director of Medilan, draws a similar conclusion: “The standard of contacts was better than ever. There is no other event like it in Switzerland.”


Climbing stairs on tracks

One of the highlights of the trade fair was the IFAS Innovation Challenge. There were 14 startups in the final round. They had already beaten around 50 other contenders and now had the opportunity to present their innovations at IFAS. On the penultimate day of the trade fair, Nik Hartmann crowned the winners: the startup Scewo nabbed the CHF 10,000 prize awarded by the expert panel of judges. The young entrepreneurs from Technopark Winterthur impressed the judges with their innovation “Bro”, the first wheelchair in the world that can climb stairs. It combines a sporty design with functionality, but its main advantage is that it features a pair of retractable rubber tracks, allowing it to safely navigate stairs. The chair can be controlled using a joystick and an app. The first chairs are expected to be delivered towards the end of 2019.

The audience prize went to the Zurich-based startup derma2go, which provides a simple way to seek advice from dermatologists online. If somebody discovers a suspect mole or a potential fungal infection, they can take a photo of the area affected, register with derma2go, upload the photo and fill in a questionnaire. Shortly afterwards, a dermatologist will view the photos and send their diagnosis to the patient. Given the rising number of skin cancer cases in Switzerland, this invention could generate a great deal of interest. “The first IFAS Innovation Challenge was an all-round success and made IFAS even more appealing,” says Salzgeber.


IFAS Innovation Challenge winners: from left to right. Audience favourite derma2go and the winner Scewo. President of Swiss Healthcare Startups (SHS) Dr Gieri Cathomas, Chairman of Cosanum AG René Schefer, Managing Director of Cosanum AG Bruno Schefer


Safety and security in healthcare

The IFAS Forum was among the well-established events at the trade fair. This year, it ran under the slogan “going into the future safely and securely”. In presentations and discussion panels, experts shed light on topics such as IT in practice, creating interprofessional networks to ensure security of supply and artificial intelligence as an aid for medical professionals. “The subjects selected were interesting and diverse, and they pulled in a large number of visitors,” the Show Director says, summing up the event.

In the “Hospitality in Healthcare” special exhibition, ten exhibitors illustrated how the quality of life and living for the elderly or sick could continue to be safeguarded in future, presenting interesting and field-tested solutions in both the special exhibition and the Forum.


IFAS enriched by CareFair

This year, the integrated jobs fair CareFair also proved a valuable addition to IFAS, giving employers and job seekers in the industry an opportunity to meet. 16 employers from the healthcare sector, including the University Hospital Zurich and the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen, were among the exhibitors. Exhibitors could use the new online platform CareBase, launched in 2018, to view profiles in advance and invite potential employees to an interview at the jobs fair itself. Job seekers could upload their documents onto the platform for free. Both the CareBase online platform and the integrated job fair CareFair are helping to counter the shortage of skilled labour in the healthcare industry.


Next IFAS in 2020

“The success of IFAS 2018 confirms that the trade fair is still very popular in the healthcare industry – especially in times of increasing digitalisation,” Salzgeber is delighted to report. And he is already announcing the next one: the 36th IFAS will be held from 20 to 23 October 2020. Plans include further developing the IFAS Innovation Challenge.


An overview of IFAS

IFAS is held every two years in October at Messe Zürich – the next will be from 20 to 23 October 2020. Professionals from the healthcare sector gain an overview of trends, innovative services and new products. Exhibitors from the fields of medical technology, diagnostics, rehabilitation, nursing, hospitality, consumer goods, information technology, organisation and facility management are represented along with employers from the healthcare sector as part of the integrated CareFair jobs fair.



For more information and images, please contact:

Lea Maurer

Head of Communications

Exhibit & More Ltd.

Telephone: +41 (0)44 806 33 45

E-mail: lea.maurer@exhibit.ch 


Heinz Salzgeber

IFAS Show Director

Exhibit & More Ltd.

Telephone: +41 (0)44 806 33 37

E-mail: heinz.salzgeber@exhibit.ch