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Q&A: ECRM's Castillo discusses upcoming home health, diabetes virtual program


As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, ECRM has taken its product discovery and category development programs virtual. With several already under its belt, ECRM is gearing up for future virtual programs, including the Home Health & Diabetes Care Program, which is slated for Sept. 8-11. As registration for the program gets underway, DSN sat down with Michael Castillo, senior vice president of pharmacy and medical markets at ECRM, to discuss the new developments in the categories and how the virtual session will bring suppliers and retailers together, even from a distance.

Michael Castillo

DSN: What trends are you seeing in home health and diabetes categories?
Michael Castillo: 
To avoid possible exposure to COVID-19 from an emergency room, nursing home even from a pharmacy, patients are looking for products that will help them age in place like in-home devices that transmit key patient information to their providers. Other e-prescribing, e-commerce and telehealth products and services have picked up steam in the wake of COVID-19. For instance, wearable personal devices along with technology that allows patients to order medications and test supplies online are becoming increasingly popular.

DSN: How does the ECRM Home Health & Diabetes Care Program fuel product discovery?
MC: Now more than ever, retailers and distributors must offer innovative solutions that help patients access needed products and services from home. Yet, canceled trade shows, limited travel and fewer office appointments — if there are any at all, have made sourcing endeavors extremely time-consuming and cumbersome. But, ECRM’s Home Health & Diabetes Care Program September 8th – 11th provides buyers with access to suppliers in a virtual environment where they can participate in one-on-one meetings with those suppliers that align with their sourcing initiatives. These meetings are condensed over the course of a few days saving a tremendous amount of time while still providing buyers with the access they need to continue to source innovative products that will work for their patients during this trying time.

DSN: How has ECRM pivoted in light of COVID-19?
MC: In response to the industry’s need to continue product sourcing and category planning quickly, efficiently and – most importantly for today’s challenging environment – remotely, the ECRM quickly introduced its first virtual program in May. Virtual Programs are specifically designed to deliver the same world-class experience as an in-person Session. As with in-person Sessions, each Virtual program will feature a wealth of resources to help buyers and suppliers make the most of their experience, including RangeMe onboarding, best practices information, relevant market research and educational programs. The virtual format has effectively allowed buyers to connect with their suppliers, source product and learn about the industry in a time when travel and in-person meetings are not an option. In fact, this format is so successful we have converted all of our 2020 programs to virtual.

DSN: What role will virtual play moving forward?
The challenges of the pandemic showed everybody the power of virtual meetings and the opportunity to leverage digital in a more effective way. Even when Large gatherings and in-person meetings start to happen, virtual is not going away.  This has proved to the world that business can continue in a virtual environment. 

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