Pedorthics: Times, They Are A-Changin'

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By Andrea Spridgen

If there is one thing that it seems everyone in the orthotic, prosthetic, and pedorthic professions can agree on, it's that the industry is continually changing. With increasing documentation requirements for diabetic footwear reimbursement, the growing potential for encroachment on pedorthic scope of practice, and the growing trend of patients turning to the Internet for specialty footwear purchases and to store kiosks for prefabricated foot orthotics, the times seem to be a-changin' particularly fast for pedorthists. For this month's edition of The O&P EDGE ten-year anniversary column, we asked pedorthic experts to share their thoughts about the most significant development in pedorthics over the last decade. Here's what they had to say:

If there is one important development in the practice of pedorthics in the last ten years, it would be the elevation of educational requirements for new practitioners. For many years, the profession sought recognition as an allied health profession. Once achieved, it became clear that pedorthics had to achieve educational parity with other allied health professions. The educational standards elevate pedorthics to the same level as other disciplines within the O&P universe. This gives pedorthics a level playing field for certification, reimbursement issues, and licensure for those states requiring it.

—Dean Mason, CPed, OST, BOCO, CO, BOCPD; Jay Zaffater, CPed; Rob Sobel, CPed; and Christopher Costantini, CPed, for the Pedorthic Footcare Association (PFA) executive committee

The most significant change for pedorthics in the last ten years is the evolution of its education. To survive in an ever-changing economy and a global marketplace where consumers are extremely well-informed and research their healthcare professionals, as well as possible solutions for their needs, it's vital to be able to care for the public's feet in a way that is consistent and effective.

—Kristi Hayes, CPed, Shane's Foot Comfort Center, Seattle, Washington, immediate past president of PFA

One of the most significant changes in the last ten years was the merger of Board for Certification in Pedorthics (BCP) and American Board for Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics (ABC). This event set the stage for much more recognition of the profession of pedorthics. It resulted in increased focus on pedorthics at national meetings like American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) and American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy), as well as long overdue oversight and changes to our pedorthic education.

—Dennis Janisse, CPed, president and CEO of National Pedorthic Services, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; director of scientific affairs for Orthofeet, Northvale, New Jersey; and past president of PFA

The field of pedorthics has seen rapid change over the last ten years. Advances in technology have impacted both the shoe business and the orthotic insole business. The retail distribution model has also been dramatically affected as a result of the Internet. Another major change has been the expansion of providers of therapeutic shoes. Beyond the traditional avenues of pedorthists and orthotists, many diabetics are now being fitted for footwear by physicians and pharmacies.

—Séamus Kennedy, BEng (Mech), CPed, president and coowner of Hersco Ortho Labs, New York, New York