If one thing is apparent about the current state of HME, it is that clinging to the old Medicare fee-for-service model is futile. The need to find alternative business categories is no longer just a good idea, it is critical to survival.
Medtrade 2014 organizers realize this and have developed a series of sessions to give show attendees some constructive feedback on how to expand their businesses beyond the status quo. Moreover, these sessions focus on how HME providers can connect with the clientele of the near future—baby boomers.
In her session “Boomerology Revealed—New Rules for Marketing to America’s Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group,” Shahar Boyayan, president of Buzzbooster Media, says HME providers are perfectly positioned to serve a generation of people who are now caring for their parents.
“Boomers are very different than their parents when it comes to buying behavior,” she says. “They don’t care much about discounts and coupons. They are about convenience and saving time, and when it comes to their elderly parents, they will pay more if the product brings convenience, independence and makes them look cool. Yes, they want to be the ‘cool kids.’”
As an aging generation themselves, boomers are also reaching a point where they regularly need healthcare equipment and services, which puts them front and center for the HME providers equipped to serve them, Boyayan says.
“They want their way and they want independence,” she said.” “Services that cater to these points will succeed, as well as the ones that focus on incorporating devices inside homes without disrupting the décor. The pieces need to fit in.”
Kay Koch rehab clinical education manager for Invacare, says cross-selling is a sound strategy for reaching boomers in her session “There Really IS No Place Like Home: Evaluation, Equipment and Options for Aging In Place.”
“These products can be used to augment the items they may already be renting or have purchased from the provider,” Koch said. “Most of these items are a cash sale. Cross selling by having a few items available to suggest make it relatively easy entry into the market.”