Medtrade Attendance Tops 11,000

Complex Rehab Participation Is Stronger, as Rehab Pavilion Booth Space Sells Out

MedtradeATLANTA — Just two years ago, the seating & mobility contingent was something of an endangered species at Medtrade.

In 2010, if complex rehab technology exhibitors were still not as ubiquitous as they once were, they were no longer few and far between. In fact, in its second year of existence, the Complex Rehab Pavilion — composed not only of manufacturers, but also assistive technology organizations such as NCART, NRRTS and the University of Pittsburgh — was afforded a place of honor at the front of the Georgia World Congress Center’s exhibit hall. And the Rehab Pavilion space, according to Show Director Kevin Gaffney, sold out, causing show management to consider expanding the Pavilion’s size in the future.

He reported overall attendance for Medtrade, held the week of Nov. 15, was 11,756 — including exhibitors, DME suppliers, clinicians and consumers.

There were 577 Medtrade exhibitors, with 6,788 DME suppliers and clinicians attending.

“Positive” Feedback from Participants

Gaffney described attendee and exhibitor feedback as “very positive,” noting, “We increased our marketing efforts this year, and with the support of our many partners, were able to reinforce the message that attending Medtrade is not only good for your business, but good for the industry overall.”

Among Medtrade’s strategic moves: Locking in the popular Atlanta venue, rather than hosting the show from Orlando, Fla., every third year.

Noting that all types of tradeshows “are experiencing flat or lower participation than in recent years, due mostly to the economy,” Gaffney said show management was happy with how Medtrade went. He added that Medtrade “exceeded our goals in terms of exhibitors and attendees.”

One sign of that success was the interest in the Complex Rehab Pavilion, which debuted at Medtrade 2009. The Pavilion was especially popular with exhibitors who take smaller booths — by banding together in a dedicated part of the show hall, they’re less likely to be overlooked.

“Partnering with NRRTS has been a positive experience and has added to the Complex Rehab Pavilion being a success,” Gaffney said. “It was unique in that the participants were representative of associations, educational organizations and manufacturers — even some that had traditional booths outside of the pavilion. Naturally, we would like for it to grow — the space sold out well in advance of the show — so we need to consider allotting more show fl oor space to allow those who want to participate in that opportunity. Along with that, we will continue to specifically target rehab providers in terms of marketing efforts and keep them informed of all Medtrade has to offer in terms of the expo and the educational conference.”

Another sizable draw: the NextGen home, a full-scale house built inside the World Congress Center that featured a number of accessibility products, including ramps, patient lifts, bath safety equipment and a bedroom mattress designed to accommodate a patient with pressure relief needs as well as an able-bodied partner.

In the New Product Pavilion, the Provider’s Choice Award went to Healthcraft Products’ SerenaSeat, a fold-down seat for the shower. The Innovation Award went to the FlexStep Compact, a combination platform lift/staircase by Liftup ApS, headquartered in Denmark.

Honors also went to Infopia, a monitoring manufacturer, for Best Booth over 400 sq. ft. in size, while The Aftermarket Group won Best Booth in the under-400-sq.-ft. category.

Medtrade Lessons Learned

Gaffney noted that educational and informational events at Medtrade were popular, as always, with attendees.

“We did learn that the HME industry is welcoming to outside insight, as the attendance at our keynote event with Clifford Schorer was extremely well attended,” Gaffney said. “His analogies from other industries were on target with the issues facing HME providers and manufacturers, and his opening session set the tone for the event in terms of looking for new ways to improve and increase business and patient care.”

Policy-focused events are also important, Gaffney said. “As we have in the last few years, we recognized that it is critical to provide attendees with updates on the legislative and regulatory activities in the industry. Many of the educational sessions, including AAHomecare’s Legislative Update, were standing-room only. And although we do not in any way support competitive bidding, the addition of the educational track on that topic was necessary. The response from attendees was affirmation that we must be ready and willing to be responsive quickly and succinctly.” As they did in 2009, Medtrade management invited consumers to attend on Nov. 18, the final day of the event. Gaffney said 47 consumers participated.

He praised the efforts of the Consumer Education/Advocacy Group, saying, “Its members created a strong educational program, and the daylong event would not have been possible without them. And although we would have liked to have seen more consumers attend, we realize this type of event needs time to build momentum.”

Gaffney added that Medtrade “will continue working with national and regional associations and organizations to gain their support and the support of their members. We will also continue to work with a variety of media outlets to showcase the value of the event.”

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This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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