Oswald’s Goes to Medtrade 2018

Where does one go to learn about the latest innovations in the home medical equipment industry? How do we always have the latest and greatest on our medical equipment showroom floor? Medtrade, of course! This year our DME manager Jerry and I traveled to Atlanta for Medtrade 2018. Medtrade’s mission is “to provide high quality and effective, sales, marketing, educational and networking opportunities for companies and professionals in the HME Industry.”

Traveling to Medtrade 2018

You may think in this day and age traveling to a conference is unnecessary. When we’ve got so much information at our fingertips on the internet, why waste the time and money on a trip? Well, how many of us have made a purchase online, only to find out the product is NOT at all what we imagined when it arrives? We see this happen all the time with our customers. We don’t want to make the same mistake when it comes to new items we’re bringing in for our customers. Our buyers love to see new equipment and devices up close and personal before we bring them in.

Oswald’s Picks for Best New HME Products 2018

This year we got to see new products from a lot of the companies we already work with. Like Stander’s new seated Fold-n-Go walker. Or Golden Technologies new 3-position Twilight. What’s more exciting is finding a new company, who has products we know our customers will love! Our three favorite finds this year were:

Abelift Portable Electronic Recliner: This device turns a normal bed into an adjustable bed! You can recline comfortably to watch TV or read, then gently lower yourself down to sleep. It’s a great idea for people who don’t want to invest in a full hospital bed and those who are using it intermittently or for a short period of time.

Easy to Use Products, Walkers and Cup Holder Prototype: We’ve got walker tips, glides, and skis. Now we can add coasters to the list! As the vendor put it, these walker coasters are “easy to install, easy to see and easy to use.” They’ve got that bright yellow hue of a tennis ball, but are so much more efficient. The vendor also showed us an easy to install and remove cup holder that will fit on a wide array of mobility devices. We’re looking forward to carrying that as soon as it goes on sale early next year!

Triumph Mobility Rollz Motion2: We’ve been on the search for a good transport chair/rollator forever. This is the best one we’ve seen yet! What makes this one so special is how stable it is. With most transport chair/rollator combos, when you’re pushing someone, hitting any bump can lead to a wipeout. The Rollz Motion2 has LARGE wheels that help prevent dumping someone out of the seat when you hit a bump. While it’s a little bulky for a ‘rollator’, if someone really likes the idea of a 2-in-1, this is the way to go!

We’ll be working with those vendors to hopefully carry their products in the near future.

Continuing to Better Our HME Expertise

When it comes to education, we weren’t able to find too many classes that were in our wheelhouse. As Oswald’s is a retail, self-pay medical equipment showroom, we like to think we’re ahead of the curve. Most of our colleagues in the industry still work with insurance companies to bill for medical equipment. While that’s great when it works – oftentimes insurance won’t cover what you need, or won’t get you the item you actually want. In a retail self-pay environment, you get to choose exactly what you want! And heck, some of our customers self-submit their receipts and still get reimbursed!

Oswald's Manager Alex Anderson sitting at a conference table at Medtrade 2018, surrounded by other attendees.
A picture of me hard at work with other attendees at a VGM Retailers breakfast during Medtrade 2018.

The last day of Medtrade, I was on a panel with our friends from VGM Retail to talk to stores about marketing in the retail HME industry. I was paired with a marketer from the shoe company Vionic to talk with attendees interested in any retail marketing related topic! We discussed the importance of a great mobile-optimized webpage, advertising on both traditional and digital platforms, and social media. Other groups discussed merchandising, employee training and products to carry.

Having Some Fun at Medtrade 2018

It’s not all business! We had a great time catching up with our vendors and friends in the industry at some terrific bars and restaurants in Downtown Atlanta. Our favorite night was VGM’s member party at the College Football Hall of Fame. If you’re a big fan of College Football, you won’t want to miss this museum on your next trip to Atlanta.

Picture of the entrance to the College Football Hall of Fame during Medtrade 2018. Hundreds of football helmets from US colleges can be seen.
The College Football Hall of Fame during the VGM Group Member Party.

All things considered, Jerry and I had a great time, and are looking forward to Medtrade 2019. These conferences are a great opportunity to see what’s new, catch up with our industry peers, and, hopefully, learn a thing or two!

Written by Alex Anderson

Alex is the current general manager at Oswald's Pharmacy. A 6th generation member of the Wickel-Oswald-Kester-Anderson family, Alex focuses on innovation and taking the business into the future. With 7 years of working for Whole Foods Market as a Marketing & Community Relations Specialist, Healthy Eating Specialist, and Private Events Coordinator, Alex has a unique perspective on big and small businesses. Alex is currently President of the Independent Medical Retailers group, an active volunteer in the Naperville Jaycees and member of the NCTV17 Marketing Committee. Alex graduated with a BA degree from Columbia College Chicago in 2009. Alex has spent most of his life in Naperville and Chicago. He currently lives in Naperville with his wife and 2 children (Oswald's 7th Generation!)