Medtrade West Report

Medtrade West 2000 will conduct its spring product preview and educational conference May 3 - 5 at Bally's Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Attendees this year can look forward to new products and technological advances as well as information on hot topics such as compliance and reimbursement.

"A Smart Step Toward the New Milennium" is the theme for this year's show as the focal point of Medtrade West will be the latest technological advancements in home medical equipment (HME) and rehabilitation products.

Education

This year's conference will focus on many subjects designed around educational tracks such as reimbursement, legal, sales/marketing, HME business operations, rehabilitation/clinical and customer service. The main goal is to emphasize the need to provide quality care and hold down costs.

"Because of the diversity of the business, our myriad of professional roles of our attendees and the changes in the business, we need to focus on many areas of the homecare industry," said Louis Feuer, educational director, Bill Communications, Home Health Care Division (formerly Medtrade Management Group), Atlanta, Ga.

Feuer is leading a seminar titled "The Science of Motivation: Strategies for Upping the Productivity," which follows the sales/marketing track. This program analyzes the motivation issues and provides strategies for increasing motivation.

"We continue to focus on solutions for creating new business markets and solutions to operational concerns and challenges," said Feuer.

Other sales/marketing seminars will emphasize issues such as showroom design and merchandising, successful promotions, and marketing in the 21st century, which will provide attendees with creative ides and suggestions for attracting new customers and building business.

Wallace Weeks, MBA, The Weeks Group Inc., will be speaking on Management Techniques for the Next 10 years, which offers descriptions of emerging techniques that will become standard methods for companies that are currently utilized by Fortune 500 companies.

"(One of) the major reasons we attend Medtrade West is to train our sales force," said David Marquard, general manager, Applied Marketing Inc., North Olmsted, Ohio.

Those attendees interested in improving customer service may benefit from attending Satisfying Customers' Wants and Needs to learn the four basic behavioral tendencies of people and how to observe external behaviors in others.

The reimbursement track will offer information on Medicare and increasing revenue through the use of managed care. HME providers can choose from a vast selection of seminars focusing on the long-term impact of the Balance Budget Act of 1997 (BBA), management techniques and purchasing.

New Products and Technology

Advancements in technology are occurring at a rapid speed making Medtrade West the mid-year opportunity for manufacturers to release and for providers to discover new products.

"The primary goal is to introduce attendees to new products that will be important to their business and match those products with seminars that will teach them to market, sell and generate revenue," Feuer said.

"When the show was organized originally, new product introductions typically took place at Medtrade; however, with the increasing technological changes and rapid advancements (it is hoped) Medtrade West can serve as a formidable platform for the growing number of new product introductions that must occur in the spring," said Walt Goldsby, Bill Communications, Home Health Care Division.

There are more than 300 exhibits with a range of product categories and a new product showcase. Some of the products at the show are beds and accessories, infusion therapy products, scooters and accessories and rehabilitation products.

HME providers can learn how to benefit their business and increase productivity from the many companies featuring management software and other useful tools. Many companies each year introduce new and upgraded software packages to help providers manager their business both in the store and online.

Other products featured at Medtrade West are nutritional products, pain-management aids and patient-education tools. According to Goldsby, the products are developed to address the concerns of the care givers, as well as to enhance the quality of life of patients.

Networking

Many companies attend Medtrade West for various reasons such as networking with current clients, meeting new clients and showcasing new products.

Smith & Nephew Inc., Rehabilitation Division, Germantown, Wis., is one company showcasing an entire line of new products.

"We hope to increase our exposure with our customers located on the West Coast that were unable to attend the Medtrade show last fall," said Beth Horne, communications specialist, Smith & Nephew, Rehabilitation Division.

Ben Kim, marketing coordinator said (tradeshows) are the easiest way to really see customers face to face. Kim also said attendance seems to be declining and that there seems to be a shift from making money to networking.

"People in marketing and the inside sales representatives rarely get an opportunity to see our customers," he said.

Larry Schwartz, marketing director, Apex Foot Health Care, South Hackensack, N.J., is looking forward to expanding the Internet growth of his company's new Web site through networking with new clients. However, he feels the exhibition time is not long enough.

"My biggest complaint is the lack of time for exhibiting. (Exhibit time) is really not long enough to be doing business," Schwartz said.

Schwartz also said the recent name change from FutureShow to Medtrade West will help the show expand.

"The name Medtrade means a lot, its like a brand name so I think it will help a lot," he said.

Computer Applications Unlimited Inc., Harrisburg, Pa., president/ceo David Kylen said education is the main draw to Medtrade West.

"Historically products are bigger in the fall, that's just the way it is in this business," he said.

Kent Barnes, director of marketing, Team DME, Nashville, Tenn., believes trade shows are a great opportunity to see existing clients and to meet new prospects.

"We enjoy talking to our clients and potential clients to find out their needs so we can cater our products to fit those needs," Barnes said.

Barnes also said he always enjoys learning as much as possible about the industry.

"The shows are very educational," he said.

Fun

This year's Medtrade West show is sure to lure companies from all across the United States. Attendees are sure to find days filled with networking, learning about the industry and viewing new and innovative products while Vegas nightlife offers dining, gambling and musical entertainment!

Each year, Las Vegas reinvents itself. Last year's attendees can check out new hotels and casinos like Paris and Venetian or other famous, traditional hotels such as the Stardust Hotel whose famous has been featured for more than 40 years on various television shows, films and commercials. Las Vegas is experiencing a dining renaissance, so visitors can fill themselves with world-class cuisine in addition to gambling.

Medtrade West is about business, but there is also time for a little fun and relaxation with colleagues. Often, some of the best information is shared in casual situations over dinner or after the conferences.

Regardless of the size or business of providers or manufacturers, Medtrade West is the mid-year event critical for a successful operation. The education, networking, new products and fun available in Las Vegas can be had no where else.

"Home care is an industry always in a state of change, and Medtrade West wants to make adapting to these changes easier and successful for every home care company," Feuer said.

Medtrade Report Part 1

This article originally appeared in the April 2000 issue of HME Business.

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