Use the Macro Approach to Patient Evaluations to Define the O&P Industry

ORLANDO, Fla. – In order to expand the role of O&P professionals, clinicians must define their scope of practice through thorough patient evaluation, education and communication, according to a presenter here.

Eric Burns, CO for Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, presented his macro approach to patient evaluations the 2010 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association’s (AOPA) National Assembly, encouraging practitioners to change the way they evaluate patients and expand beyond expectations to combat others’ definitions of the industry based on perceptions.

“We had to switch our model from a device point to a care model,” he said. “We had to take a shift back.”

Burns suggested working on the strengths of the company to achieve this goal. He used corporate examples – and Google – to express his message. Both companies went above and beyond the call of business and used knowledge about the customer to reach the customer, he said.

“The key to these companies’ success is the knowledge of their customer,” he said. “And that is truly our strength.”

To apply these same strategies to the practice of O&P, Burns suggested allowing the prescription to be the foundation to the patient evaluation but to also look beyond and gather subjective information and look at the bigger picture. He instructed practitioner to then use that information to better educate patients about their specific pathologies, goals of the partnership and matters outside the scope of O&P that might be relevant. Communication, Burns said, is about more than communicating effectively with the patient, but also about communicating with all parties involved in that patient’s care.

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