The exhibit hall at the 2019 Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Annual Conference – #MGMA19AC, featured an astounding 69 new companies – almost a third of all exhibitors. Not only did this breath new life into the hall, it is an encouraging sign of renewed interest in the physician practice market.
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) caters to and advocates for physician practices in the US. Their annual conference, #MGMA19AC, kicked off in New Orleans this weekend and brought together over 3,000 attendees from across the country.
For me, the heart of the annual conference is the exhibit hall. It has always been a bellwether of physician practice spending. The more exhibitors there were in a particular category, the more likely it was that dollars would be flowing to those exhibitors in the year ahead.
In the EHR heyday, when Meaningful Use dollars were flowing, the hall featured mega-sized booths from companies like NextGen and athenahealth. In fact, many EHR vendors would bring their large-sized HIMSS booths to MGMA.
As the EHR financial incentives ran out and consolidation of physician practices as well as Health IT vendors began to happen, the booths at MGMA began to shrink. This has led to the belief that the MGMA exhibit hall was slowly dying.
Although I never subscribed to this belief, it was hard not be discouraged at the decrease in overall square footage of the exhibit hall – even though the total number of exhibitors remained almost the same year over year.
At #MGMA19AC, there was an encouraging sign that the exhibit hall may be coming back. Along every aisle, “New Exhibitor” signs were visible.
One was SymphonyRM, makers of an AI platform that uses data to determine the next-best-action for a particular patient and then helps to orchestrate that action by engaging with patients through multiple communication channels. Another was Shift Admin, a 2019 KLAS category leader in Physician Scheduling. Their platform uses advanced algorithms to generate optimal physician schedules for healthcare organizations. Both these companies have established track records in healthcare and neither are startups, but rather companies looking to scale their businesses.
Of the 227 exhibitors at #MGMA19AC, almost one third are new (69 in total). This is a remarkable number and is a sign that there is renewed interest in the physician practice market.
Representatives from many new exhibitors, including SymphonyRM and Shift Admin, commented to me on how important it was for them to be at the MGMA annual conference in order to connect with physician group practices.
As competition in the practice market continues to heat up (ie: Amazon and Walmart), medical groups will need to adopt better technologies and improve internal processes in order to appeal to patients. MGMA’s annual conference has always been a great event to find innovative and interesting companies. To see so many companies exhibit at #MGMA19AC for the first time bodes well for next year.