Online Resources Help Tackle Tough Clinical Questions

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By Carolyn Blythe, NCOPE Resident
Carolyn Blythe, NCOPE Resident
Carolyn Blythe, NCOPE Resident

There are numerous resources available to practitioners investigating a challenging clinical question. The search feature available for several online journals makes researching the existing bodies of knowledge more efficient than ever before. Many product manufacturers and professional organizations also have extensive information available to clinicians at their websites.

Another valuable online resource is the comprehensive archive of the orthotics and prosthetics listserver. OANDP-L is an e-mail network where practitioners worldwide communicate to enhance patient care and encourage professional development. Every facet of this discourse, spanning seven years and a wide breadth of topics, is keyword searchable online.

The search box found at will give you access to many of these resources from one location. If you don't find what you need there, you can conduct a broader search using an Internet search engine such as For best results, it is very important to carefully consider your search keywords, be as specific as possible, and try different keyword combinations. This is especially important when using an Internet search engine like Google that searches literally billions of pages, many of which are not related to O&P but could have similar keywords.

If you are still unable to find the answer to a specific question, you may address the question directly to the listserver yourself. Posting a message to OANDP-L allows you to draw on the knowledge and experience of nearly 3,000 clinicians worldwide. Responses are usually generated within hours and, once summarized to the list, are added to the searchable archive as a resource to other practitioners. In order to post a message to the list, you first need to subscribe, which can be done in seconds using the blue box at .

Staying abreast of the current online resources available to O&P clinicians can become an integral component of your practice. The ever-increasing accessibility of information and exchange of knowledge helps ensure that your patients receive the most appropriate solution in the most efficient manner possible.