Conference Preview: HIDA/99: Compete. Achieve. Succeed.

Being in the health care industry can be a daunting task. Home medical equipment (HME) providers must always stay on their toes to keep up with the latest legislation or trends. One way HME providers can gain a competitive advantage is through the networking, education and product knowledge provided at the Health Industry Distributors Association's (HIDA) Annual Trade Show and Education Forum held Oct. 9-11 at Chicago's Navy Pier.

A Focus on Education

This year HIDA has focused on elevating the educational portion of the conference, said Cara C. Bachenheimer, vice president, HIDA membership services.

"The up side is that more conferences are offered. The down side is that they are concurrent," she said.

The educational segment of HIDA/99 contains three conferences, or course topics, taught by industry experts in sales and marketing, distribution management and home care. Each course topic has three sessions to help attendees get an in-depth understanding.

The Home Care Conference is designed for home care provider personnel, including HME providers, home infusion providers and service agencies. Course topics and presenters include: "Cash is King: Managing Home Care Reimbursement to Maximize Cashflow," Lisa Thomas-Payne; "The Art of Closing the Big Deal," Alison Cherney; "Operational Issues in Home Care," Lynn Shapiro Snyder, Joel Mills and Dave Kinskey; and "Home Care Management Issues," Cara C. Bachenheimer and Ron Stephenson.

The Sales and Marketing Conference includes six full-length courses created for sales and marketing representatives and managers. Participants can chose to attend: "The Diamond Touch in Selling," Nate Booth; "Building Intimate Alliances with Your Customers," George Lucas; "Health Care Selling: How to Increase Sales, Earn More Money and Have More Fun," Jim Meisenheimer; "The Nuts and Bolts of Sales Management," Michael Marks; "Technology for the Sales Professional," Bill Metcalf; and "Selling in the Physician Market," Sheila Dunn and Anita Sirianni.

The Distribution Management Conference is designed for executives and managers with hospital, imaging, physician/alternate care and long-term care distributor companies. Topics covered include: "Strategic Weapons of the New Millennium: A Battle Plan for Distributors," Bill McCleave; "Planning: Key to Manufacturer-Distributor Sales Partnerships," Cindy Juhas; "Market-Based Management," Michael Workman; "Hospital/Physician Marketing Issues," Ron Stephenson; and "Long Term Care Market Issues," Linda A. Hardy.

Debuting at HIDA/99 are the Sales Achievers Forum and the Executive Strategic Forum. The Sales Achievers Forum is open by nomination only and is geared to the highest achieving salespeople in medical product distributor, manufacturer and home care companies. Its opening session precedes HIDA/99 on Oct. 8 with keynote speaker Jim Pancero, who will discuss "Sales in the New Millennium: How to Create and Keep Your Competitive Advantage." The forum continues Oct. 9 with a panel discussion on the health care customer of the 21st century, two breakout sessions and the final keynote speaker, Ian Morrison, who will present "The Next Wave: Critical Trends Impacting Your Healthcare Customers."

The Executive Strategic Forum will be Oct. 10, and it is designed for top executives The forum features a panel of leading experts discussing key health care issues including health care integration, managed care, government reform and supply chain management.

Exhibitions

Opening Saturday night and continuing through the conference, the HIDA trade show floor is an important place for educating providers about trends in the industry and for networking with colleagues. A new feature for HIDA/99 is the Business Pavilion, which provides business services and TODAY@HIDA/99!, the new online convention daily. At the 4,000-square-foot Business Pavilion, attendees will be able to phone, fax and email customers and colleagues during the show. Also new to HIDA/99 are the Consultant Booths, which are tabletop exhibits where industry consultants will be available to discuss their expertise.

Many of the most popular attractions of the show will return. The OpTech Pavilion will make its third appearance at HIDA to house exhibits that are geared to operations and systems. The HIDA Pavilion returns to provide a common place on the show floor where attendees can visit HIDA officials and vendors who provide HIDA members with services. HIDA's consultant partners also will be available at the pavilion to meet with attendees and address individual concerns.

Along with the exhibits and pavilions on the floor are several trade show adventures, where attendees can relax, have fun and win prizes. Attendees are invited to virtually sports fish with a real fishing rod and line, shoot some hoops with other attendees in a game of electronic basketball, take the Super Shot Par 3 golf challenge or try to get the best score on the nine-hole putting challenge.

Networking Opportunities

HIDA/99 also offers additional activities for networking and education. The HIDA Golf Outing on Saturday is a way to take business to the green for a relaxed atmosphere. For first-time attendees, a Newcomer's Reception is that evening at the Riva Restaurant. According to Bachenheimer, the reception is critical for newcomers because it will orient them to the show and give tips on how to decide which conferences to attend. Saturday night's Kickoff Party sets the tone for the show by providing a place for a little fun, friendly competition. The party will include offbeat sports such as a Velcro® obstacle course and robotic boxing. The Chairman's Industry Brunch on Sunday reinforces the themes of competition and success with keynote speaker Dick Vitale, a top basketball analyst with ESPN and ABC, who promises to deliver unique and enthusiastic insights into the "Game of Life." Finally, on Monday morning all HIDA members and exhibitors are invited to attend HIDA's annual meet ing where the 2000 HIDA board officers will be elected.

For more information regarding the HIDA/99 Passport Program or for registration information, contact HIDA at (703) 549-4432 or at www.hida.org.

This article originally appeared in the September 1999 issue of HME Business.

About the Authors

James P. Brennan is a technology manager with Arch Chemicals Inc., Smyrna, Georgia. He has been working extensively with water chlorination chemistry for the past 30 years. He can be contacted at (423) 780-2007.

Jim Papac is the founder of Levo USA, Tyrone, Ga. and has 16 years in the wheelchair, seating and positioning field He can be contacted at (888) 538-6872.

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