Just in Time for the Annual Meeting: AOPA World Congress 2017 Sneak Peek

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An Easy Way to Show Health Economical Benefit in Standard O&P Practice: A First Experience

Andreas Hahn, PhD, MSc

The increasing pressure on O&P practitioners to demonstrate the value they deliver to customers and to payers will be addressed in this session that focuses on health economical argumentation by using a simple assessment in practice. While health economical argumentation is sometimes presented with an aura of mystery, Hahn says, he will show how developing health utility values in prosthetic practice can be simple and straightforward, with validated generic instruments such as the EQ 5D 5L that can be administered in just a few minutes. Outcomes data can show that O&P services provide value with respect to mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and even with respect to anxiety/depression. The session will describe how specific prosthetic services can be quantified, including an example of the value would be measured when providing an ischial containment socket.

Using discussions that resulted from the recent Draft Local Coverage Determination (LCD) for Lower Limb Prostheses and the current analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the session will include consideration of whether instruments that are simple to apply, sensitive, and support the points O&P practitioners would like to make should be part of larger systematic data collection.

 Future Tech: A Glimpse Into Emerging Technologies

Steve Hill, BOCO

 After being developed and used in other industries, carbon fiber, microprocessors, infrared heating, thermoforming, etc. have been used in O&P to great effect, but it took a clever person to see their potential and find a way to use them. As science continues to develop new technologies, Hill's session is about keeping abreast of these innovations so practitioners are ready to provide the highest degree of care to patients and stay competitive with the rest of the medical profession. The topics under discussion will include stem cells, scanners, 3D printers, robotics, electronics and materials, and tissue engineering.

The session will include information about stem cell research evolving into practice as stem cell therapy to treat formidable diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease, among others. The promising technology may eventually cure many human ailments and lead to using stem cells to regrow organs and limbs. New generations of scanners can not only scan in trillions of data points, but they are using different wavelengths of light to peer into data previously unseen and unmapped. Hill will also share advancements in the materials used for 3D printing, including carbon fiber, metal, wood, and even food, and that may be able to incorporate modifications from a pedorthist for custom footwear, or to print limbs from stem cells. Another development included in the session are amorphous metals that will be three times stronger than steel at half the weight and can be shaped like plastic. Tissue engineering that combines stem cells with 3D printing for manufacturing organs that don't require anti-rejection drugs or a waiting list since they will have the patient's DNA.

While these innovations and technologies are available now, they are rare and expensive, but like most technology that can change quickly and O&P providers can prepare now to find innovative ways to incorporate it into their practice.