Editors Note - September 2020

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By Andrea Spridgen

Normally when you receive our September issue, many of you are preparing to head to the American Prosthetic & Orthotic Association National Assembly. But that looks different this year as we all adjust the way we live, work, and play during a pandemic that most of us could not have imagined. Rather than packing their bags for Las Vegas, attendees are finding a quiet place to settle in with their computers or mobile devices to hear educational sessions and see the latest O&P products at the virtual conference. It is possible that virtual learning will gain a permanent place in the mix of O&P meetings and continuing education as more organizations try them out.

Despite the financial impacts and other challenges this year has brought, the O&P profession has found creative ways to serve patients, manage practices, and introduce innovations. In "Moving Forward: Operating During the Pandemic," we spoke with practitioners and owners from four practices around the country to find out what strategies they are using to continue serving their communities. As other industries have found, differences forced by the circumstances of the pandemic in the way business is done revealed increased efficiencies, productivity, and even cost savings. As one practice owner points out, practices have discovered that some administrative functions can be performed efficiently by employees working remotely. Some practitioners have begun using virtual appointments with physicians so they can observe a patient's gait and other tests without coming to the clinic. This social distancing solution also avoids physicians' travel time to the clinic, which may spur a push for this as a permanent change.

As we continue to negotiate the landscape of the world changed by COVID-19, and we incorporate things like masks and social distancing into our routines, O&P manufacturers will surely find new ways to demonstrate their products. Practitioners will keep finding new ways to safely meet patient needs. While the way the O&P profession accomplishes its objectives may change, the dedication to quality patient care will remain. I hope you enjoy this issue as we explore the state of the profession and look toward the future of O&P.

Happy reading.