Where We Have Been

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By Andrea Spridgen

As we greet the new year, many people set goals to improve some aspect of their lives. While I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, I do agree that recognizing areas for improvement and setting goals is an important endeavor. And, to move forward, it's often helpful to reflect on where we've been. To that end, in this issue of The O&P EDGE, we revisit a 2009 series, "Tomorrow's O&P: A Survival Guide," that tracked trends and predictions of the state of the profession a decade ago. In the first installment of the latest three-part series, "O&P Ten Years Later: Where Are We Now?," Judith Philipps Otto shares the current views of some of the experts we spoke with in the original series about how the trends have evolved over the years.

To best serve its clients and to survive in an ever-changing business landscape, O&P has to respond to the new dynamics. One of the ways that some practices and manufacturers have met the business challenge is to specialize in smaller segments within O&P. "Finding Your Niche: Gaining Success, Satisfaction in Specialty O&P" explores how entrepreneurs have found success in animal O&P care, activity-specific device manufacturing, and post-mastectomy care, and what strategies others may want to consider to launch their own forays into these niche fields.

As the aging population continues to grow, caring for seniors is another specialty area that practitioners may increasingly encounter, a topic we discuss in "Developing O&P Solutions for Seniors: Meeting the Challenge." While this area of practice is by no means homogenous, there are some challenges that practitioners may face in treating seniors that are more common in this population, including comorbidities, changing cognitive and physical health, and fixed incomes that may put the co-pays for more expensive technology out of reach. Being aware of these possibilities and prepared to find solutions to work around the issues will help practitioners better assist seniors needing O&P care to achieve their best possible outcomes.

I hope you will enjoy this issue focused on specialized care and niche practices. Perhaps it will spark an idea for expanding your practice horizons as a goal this year.