Medtrade renews commitment to industry
Medtrade Show Director Kevin Gaffney can't stress enough that this year's event is about one thing above all: Commitment to the HME industry. As various external forces weigh heavily upon Medtrade's core attendees, Gaffney wants them to know that show organizers are doing everything in their power to support them during these turbulent times. He recently spoke with HME News about how Medtrade is focused on presenting attendees with the best programs possible to help them overcome the challenges they face.
HME News: What changes should exhibitors and attendees expect from Medtrade this year?
Kevin Gaffney: The biggest thing that exhibitors and attendees can expect is that Medtrade will be more focused on supporting the industry by being the venue that brings everyone together to present the home healthcare industry in the best light. I'm listening intently to what the industry is looking for out of Medtrade and, where it makes sense, we are moving quickly to implement the ideas presented.
HME: One of the rallying calls from the industry is for Medtrade to get more clinicians involved in the show.
Gaffney: Although the number of clinicians who participate in Medtrade is relatively small compared to core attendees--HME providers--there is a true benefit in having these referral sources attend Medtrade. The more knowledgeable they can become about the newest products available in the market, the better it will be for patients, providers and manufacturers. Additionally, many of the educational sessions have a clinical focus and offer continuing education credits. Medtrade has focused specific advertising and marketing campaigns that detail the benefits of the show that are directly related to them.
HME: Medtrade has always been a "trade only" show. Have you gauged any interest from consumers about attending and are you considering opening the show to them?
Gaffney: This year, we will have a consumer-driven aspect to the event. We want to enable consumers to become advocates of their own care through lobbying efforts. They, too, will be able to view the newest products and technologies available in the industry and then work with their local providers to determine if those products are appropriate for them.
HME: How does Medtrade view its role as an advocate for the HME industry and how will it be demonstrated at the show this year?
Gaffney: Medtrade is not a lobbying organization, but it is a forum for AAHomecare and state associations to educate and mobilize HME providers in the fight. The partnership between Medtrade and AAHomecare provides financial support to the organization and its work in Washington, D.C. At Medtrade 2009, attendees and exhibitors can get the latest information on what is occurring on the national level through several industry update sessions, and state and regional information will be available at the State Association Pavilion located on the show floor.
HME: Some of the major exhibitors who skipped the show last year have returned. What does that mean to Medtrade and what are you doing to ensure they will continue coming back in the future?
Gaffney: What it means for the event is that our attendees will have a broader, more complex offering of products and services that will enhance their businesses and the lives of their patients. Also, there is another tangible benefit--more people are coming together to look for solutions and to find ways to demonstrate the value of home care in our country. To make sure all exhibitors return from year to year, we need to continue to show value. We feel strongly that by partnering with our exhibitors and looking out for their best interest we can foster a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
HME: How do you expect this year's attendance and exhibitor numbers to compare with last year and recent years?
Gaffney: In light of the general economy and the way trade shows are currently tracking, I would expect attendance to be down a few percentage points. Although it is great to hear about events that increase in attendance each year, as Medtrade has in the past, my experience has shown that when the right people show up, the event is a success.