Change in the Ruhr – The Ruhr area is becoming the center of the German health care industry


The Ruhr area is becoming the center of the German health care industry since 2018 is an end to coal subsidies.
In the Technology Park at the University of Dortmund, the future of the Ruhr area has already begun. The subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim microparts GmbH presents her inhalers for medications to treat COPD. The disease ranks fourth leading cause of death, it is commonly known as “smoker’s cough”.
According to the network industry MedEcon Ruhr, there are working about 300,000 employees in the health industry in the Ruhr area, which includes the medical micro-technology. So it is now the largest employer in the region. Although there may be many employees in other parts of Germany in this sector, which also includes nursing homes and hospitals, but in the Ruhr area have settled many new areas of the healthcare industry, such as the micro-technology, medical information technologist or protein diagnostics next to these “traditional” employers. In these sector of industries you cannot longer avoid the Ruhr area. The conditions for companies in the Ruhr area close to ideal. Nowhere else in Germany there is such a large population density in a metropolitan area, with several universities and hospitals – and, of course, potential patients.

The regional health expenditure amounts to almost 16 billion euros annually. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has located the “health campus NRW” 2009 at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Here are health-oriented competencies bundled and cooperation is encouraged within the industry. The funds come from the EU. One of the beneficiaries has now moved into the new bio-medical center at the Ruhr University. The start-up company Iliad Medical settled in the colorful building in 2008. The lyrics “Had the pulse beat of steel”, sung by Herbert Grönemeyer in his song “Bochum”, already faded away long time ago, but Illias Medical anyway is more listening to the human heart sounds as a basis for business. The company, which was founded by three engineers and a computer scientist, has developed the smallest heart-lung machine in the world. The unit has a weight of five pounds, including oxygen supply and heat exchanger and is as big as a briefcase.
The award winning project is the result of a doctoral thesis at the University of Aachen, but the local conditions, leaded the young entrepreneur eventually to Bochum. “Originally we were looking for suitable locations in Germany,” says Philip Mayer. But nowhere the conditions have been as good as in the Ruhr area. They could arrange al of their facilities in bio-medical center and even the financing of the laboratory and workshop equipment, have been supported by the city of Bochum through the placement of EU funds. The hospital and population density would also have been important. Meanwhile, the start-up is working with include the University Hospital in Essen, the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund and the Ruhr University in Bochum. The short distances between cities make it possible.

The health care industry is already among the most dynamic industries in the Ruhr area. During the economic crisis, it proved to be stable and independent of economic cycles. The healthcare industry will play one of the leading and most important roles for the Ruhr area.

That even if it is located, on the one hand to the efforts of state government, city marketing and business achievements on the other hand, there is also a deep anchorage of the health care industry in the Ruhr tradition: for example, the hospital “Bergmannsheil”, now University Hospital of the Ruhr-University Bochum, the oldest hospital in the world for accidents. It was established in 1890 to supply miners in accidents. The “Knappschaft” insurance also has a long tradition in relation to this area. The same applies to the Krupp Hospital in Essen and the specialization of many clinics in respiratory medicine – the pneumoconiosis of miners promoted it. Now it’s about to develop the potential for the future.




3 thoughts on “Change in the Ruhr – The Ruhr area is becoming the center of the German health care industry

  1. I think it is good that the Ruhr area becomes the center of the German health care industry. This industry is the industry that will grow the most in the next years and that will be the industry of the future. According to the theory of the Kondratiev wave we are at the moment at the end of a wave and with a new industrial invention a new wave will start. I think the next wave will be started by an invention in the health industry. Also this industry is the industry of the future due to the demographical change. The population gets older and older. But to care old people is expensive and takes a lot of time. Most of the time old people have just one or two children who cannot care their parents. New inventions are needed that will make the care easier.
    Also the health care industry is important for the Ruhr area. This area has made a structural change from an area for lignite-degrading to an area for industrial companies. With the end of the lignite-degrading this area has to invent itself new, create new labour and invent itself new. With this heath care industry the area can be the leader of a future industry.

  2. From my point of view this article shows that Germany or especially North Rhine-Westphalia tries to create a new model of supplying health care, which will really be the right system needed for the future. For sure, for a country like Germany it would not be enough to concentrate the whole health care area to only one point of the country, but if everything will work like they are expecting, it would be a good reference also for other areas.
    The concentration of the health care industry to a smaller area will be a benefit for nearly all members because it is always better when you are able to combine education or university with the real work life. To achieve the best results research and development need to go hand in hand.
    It is the best what could have happened to this region, a lot of new jobs are created for all levels of workers not only for high developed workers. But it needs to be mentioned that there will not only be winners, because as it was said in the article a lot of the money comes for the government or the EU and when you are creating bigger hospitals with more capacity and more offers it is clear, that you cannot avoid closing other smaller hospitals to be able to pay everything. According to this there will be people that lose their next door working place and have to find a new one.
    But creating centralized health care centers where the whole process operates on state of the art technology is the future of the health care system and it is also the best for the patient to be attended from a specialist and not in the next door hospital because it is the nearest. Actually this plan is not in the heads of the people but with the years it would be a benefit for all.


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