Putting the Focus on Research and Education

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By Andrea Spridgen

In anticipation of this month'sAmerican Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (the Academy) Annual Meeting & Symposium educational event in New Orleans, this issue of The O&P EDGE highlights themes of research and education in O&P.


"Recent Grads Prepare to Make Their Mark" introduces several practitioners who recently began their O&P careers. One thing they share in common is an increased exposure to and emphasis on the importance of research and evidence-based medicine in O&P. As they spoke with The O&P EDGE, the clinicians each expressed a desire to combine that research experience from their O&P education with creativity and enthusiasm to make a lasting impression on their profession.


The next two features in this issue examine research that addresses specific challenges in prosthetic care. The first, "Creating Quality Time: QOL Following Dysvascular Amputation" reviews literature regarding quality of life among people who have experienced a lower-limb amputation, with an emphasis on those with dysvascular amputation etiologies. The second, "Osseointegration and the O&P Practitioner" comes from a team of investigators with knowledge of the ongoing research and the medical treatment of people with osseointegrated implants and provides perspective on their prosthetic care. While, as the article points out, this option may only be suitable for a small percentage of individuals with amputations, osseointegration is a topic of interest within the O&P profession, and this article highlights the benefits and risks, as well as the importance of the inclusion of prosthetists on the rehabilitation team.


In "Evidence-based Practice: Do the Rules Apply to Us?" John T. Brinkmann, MA, CPO/L, FAAOP(D), looks at the literature about evidence-based medicine and the challenge of utilizing a traditional systematic review in O&P clinical practice, since the limitation of that type of evidence does not allow for the complexities inherent in O&P practice. With that challenge in mind, he explores types of research evidence to answer how evidence-based practice can apply to O&P.


Finally, Peter W. Thomas, JD, and Leif Brierley, MPH, present updates on U.S. political events and healthcare legislation that shape the world in which O&P practices operate. Though not all current healthcare legislative priorities directly impact O&P policy, no sector operates in a vacuum. Awareness of the movements within the broader healthcare political spectrum help to position practitioners to react to changes in the lives of their clients and the businesses of their referral sources.


I hope you enjoy the variety of research-related topics this issue offers. If you are at the Academy meeting, stop by and visit our staff at booth #121.


Happy reading.