The New Expectations of the Prosthetic and Orthotic Clinic

Home > Articles > The New Expectations of the Prosthetic and Orthotic Clinic
By Jennifer Dowell, CPO

With the establishment of the Internet, networks, electronic billing and banking, we find that electronic record-keeping and paperless offices are becoming the norm in many areas of our lives. This evolution of business and office management is now finding its way into the world of O&P. Long gone is the era of simple notes jotted down and kept in a manila folder, to be referenced again only when reordering socks or a foot.

The information that is recorded for each patient needs to be comprehensive enough to allow each step of the patient's care to be managed as seamlessly as possible. Managing the billing, scheduling, and fitting, as well as coordinating and communicating with the patient care team, all rely on completeness and accuracy of the patient information chart. Relying on simple handwritten notes for such important information is no longer sufficient or acceptable.

Further, the requirement of third-party payers to justify the need for new sockets or other components means that we often need to maintain not just text information, but also the three-dimensional shape image of the patient. Maintaining this information by storing plaster models is becoming less and less practical. With the current computer applications that are widely and commonly used today to provide accurate and efficient service in so many other areas of our lives, more and more patients, as well as fellow medical professionals, expect the same level of technology from us.

Foreseeing this evolution in clinical and office management, Ohio Willow Wood developed the OMEGATM Tracer System. By integrating clinical and clerical functions into a single, user-friendly system, and making that system easily accessible to the O&P community through a variety of package options, Ohio Willow Wood is providing what we feel are unprecedented services and opportunities.

The Clinical Side

The OMEGA Tracer System provides three different methods of shape creation:

  1. The T-Ring, a custom optical-imaging device, captures the shape of transtibial and transfemoral patients in a matter of seconds.
  2. The Tracing Hardware (pen, wand, and calipers) is used for prosthetic shape capture and shape duplication as well as some orthotic applications.
  3. The "Shapes By Measurement" capability allows users to apply patient measurements to "templates" in the software to create custom shapes for spinal, knee, AFO, or transfemoral patients.

Each of these methods produces a three-dimensional shape file that can be modified using a set of sophisticated modification tools in the software to achieve the desired design. The files can be stored for future uses or references, printed out and submitted for reimbursement purposes, sent to an in-house carver, or securely transmitted to central fabrication sites. The clinical tools provide the efficiency and expediency of phone-in fabrication services with the shape modification control of in-house fabrication.

The Clerical Side

The OMEGA Tracer System streamlines daily office chores by providing up-to-date componentry information, online ordering, componentry configuration assistance, fabrication services, and shipment tracking. The system is flexible enough to allow customers to order directly from Ohio Willow Wood or to order from their Ohio Willow Wood distributor of choice. You no longer have to make multiple phone calls to determine component availability and compatibility, and your front office staff can schedule appointments without having to guess at when the components will arrive.

In this world of point-and-click electronic business and high-speed data networks, the old methods of taking simple notes by hand, storing bulky plaster models, and making countless phone calls to order and track components are no longer satisfactory. Your patients expect efficient service, your payers expect detailed documentation, and all members of the patient care team expect clear, accurate, comprehensive information about every aspect of patient care. The OMEGA Tracer system is designed to help you meet those expectations.

Jennifer Dowell, CPO, has over 14 years O&P experience, more than half of which has been spent specializing in the research, development, and instruction of CAD/CAM technology in the field of prosthetics and orthotics. Her clinical experience includes pediatric, adult, and geriatric in acute care, sports medicine, and rehabilitation medicine. She is the education prosthetist for Ohio Willow Wood.