Jeff Cole, CPed
1. How did you become interested in/involved with O&P?
After retiring, I was looking for something to do with my time and saw an employment ad seeking someone with a background in sales and diabetes. Advanced Diabetic Solutions (ADS), headquartered in Lawrenceville, Georgia, was looking to hire someone in Southwest Florida who could not only promote diabetic footwear but would also provide customer service. Since I have had type 1 diabetes for 27 years, I thought I fit the bill.
2. What are your professional goals?
I have been very happy with the growth of the business and pleased that this job affords me the time to provide my patients with a personal touch.
I educate my patients about the dangers of diabetes-related foot problems and how properly fitted diabetic footwear can reduce or prevent these complications. I also emphasize the importance of keeping blood sugar levels under control, and that doing so can reduce the possibilities of serious diabetes-related issues.
I hope to do this job as long as I am able and to help and educate as many people with diabetes as I can.
3. How do you set yourself apart from other pedorthic providers?
ADS focuses on Medicare patients who have diabetes. We can provide these patients with diabetic shoes and custom inserts, along with a blood glucose meter and any testing supplies they may need. We fit each patient and make a foam impression of his or her feet to ensure well-fitting inserts.
I personally visit every one of my patients. They don't have to worry about taking buses or taxis or driving in heavy traffic because I will come to them. Many of my patients cannot or do not want to drive any longer, and I take that worry away. Customer service is critical.
4. What do you see in the future for O&P?
With the advances of modern technology and materials, it is a great time to be in the profession. You can help people as never before, and that is a good feeling!
I am a little concerned about how Medicare is treating pedorthic-care-related benefits. I believe these benefits were designed to help reduce the growing number of amputations among people with diabetes. Now it seems that patients need to have fairly serious foot problems before we can help them. This may be a little like closing the barn door after the horse is out! I guess time will tell if this is the direction we should be going.
5. What advice would you give to someone just entering the O&P profession or starting his or her own business?
Get as much education as you can, and always put the patient first. Every satisfied customer will bring you more business.