ATLANTA - After a year in Orlando, Fla., Medtrade Group Show Director Kevin Gaffney is happy to be back home at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. It is the birthplace of the Medtrade show and for industry veterans, as comfortable as an old shoe. He outlined his plans for this year’s show to HME News.
HME News: Medtrade’s constituents are going through the toughest period in their history. What can Medtrade do to give them hope for the future?
Kevin Gaffney: Despite all the sobering news, Medtrade, by its very nature, is a gathering place for industry providers and manufacturers to come together and have their spirits lifted. It is a place to meet and expand on ideas to help move homecare forward, see new products and services, and make patients’ lives easier. Medtrade has been the source for finding solutions in the past, and we’re adapting along with the industry to provide them now.
HME: How is the show being engineered to be more relevant for attendees this year?
Gaffney: Attendees have told us that they are looking for new products, new vendors, and the ability to connect with current vendors and peers in the industry. This year we are continuing with our retail education efforts and will be adding an “Ideas in Retail” display that is designed to show providers certain aspects of retailing that could be interesting to them.
HME: How will this year’s show help providers position themselves to move forward, profitably?
Gaffney: Moving forward requires strict prioritization—no one wants to waste time on activities that do not foster the long-term profitability of the business. The entire function of a trade show is to whittle down what is important enough to talk about in a public setting. Program content must be useful and must be worth doing.
HME: Do you expect to see newcomers at the show? If so, who are they?
Gaffney: I have talked with many longtime attendees who commented on the number of new faces last year in Orlando and earlier this year at Medtrade Spring. These relatively new providers have no recollection of the “good old days.” Instead, they are jumping in with full knowledge of aggressive audits, competitive bidding, and challenging reimbursements. They see potential. The much-hyped baby boomer numbers are not pie in the sky—they are real and they will need home medical equipment.