“By changing what we expect from a prosthesis, MPKs have shown us the importance of telling the story differently—in emphasizing what benefits these patients derive from their device. Over the years research has shown increases in safety, and increased levels of confidence when patients use the MPKs—so we need to be better at sharing that data and the meaning behind what that technology does for these patients.
I think the next thing we’re going to continue to see is that the use of outcomes measures as a regular occurrence in our clinics is going to help us be able to tell that story more readily, and on broader basis as we go forward.
What we see in this field is that there are some businesses that are always looking for that change, and that new thing, and how it’s going to change their processes and how they approach their patient care—but they see enough of that value that they’re willing to make those changes. Others are a little bit more process oriented, perhaps, and feel like they have to rewrite their rule books around how this new technology affects them.
And it is true—there’s technology coming at our prosthetists in this field on a quick and very regular basis. So it takes another type of mindset to absorb that and understand.
We’re in an age now where the advent of so many new devices comes quickly. And it takes time to understand what the benefits of those devices are and the way that it would change how you do your day-to-day business, and that can be daunting to some.” Kurt Gruben, CPO, Senior Clinical Specialist, Prosthetics, Össur Global Academy
“My practice may be a little different from New York or Connecticut. One in three Arkansans is insured by state Medicaid, and they have a firm exclusion—they don’t pay for myoelectrics, and they don’t pay for microprocessors. So some patients are going to be capable of benefiting, but just don’t have the proper third-party payer to pay for it.
Nevertheless, our work-in-progress list always seems to include patients on whom we’re doing microprocessor procedures. It’s no longer a rarity, but common practice for us now.” Frank Snell, CPO, FAAOP, President and CEO, Snell Prosthetics & Orthotics, Little Rock, Arkansas
“Maybe 15 percent of our knee patients are getting microprocessor fittings. We give our patients a chance to trial them and decide. Unfortunately, microprocessor ankles haven’t progressed quite as well as knees, and some of our transtibial patients are more active than an MP ankle can allow. Here in Tennessee, we have a lot of patients in rural areas, such as farmers and construction workers; and while urban patients like an accountant or banker may do well going up and down steps with these MP ankles, they don’t stand up well to jumping off the back of a pickup truck.
Another consideration is the $10,000 deductible. Sometimes finances make the decision for them.” Aaron Sorensen, CPO, Owner, President, Restorative Health Services, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
“I think it’s just incumbent on all prosthetists to do the right thing—if their patient is a true level-three patient with documented variable-speed gait, with the ability to negotiate all of the barriers, the curb, ramps, and stairs, and all that—then by all means a microprocessor solution should be your first thought for that patient. The evolution of microprocessor technology has been a win-win situation for both the patients and their prosthetic facilities. The patients are certainly getting a level of technology that in prior days was never even thought possible.” Frank Snell
“Among our clinical team, just talking informally, we do believe that inside of the next 15-20 years people will look back and they will be in disbelief that we were ever putting people in mechanical devices. I really believe that. We’re going to see outcomes that are going to shift our thinking, based on long-term data that’s really going to be compelling. And we’re going to have practitioners that will be appalled that they ever even thought about putting a mechanical device on somebody. I’ve heard customers say that now. It’s surreal and sobering.” Justin Pratt, CP, Director of Clinical Education, Prosthetics, Össur, headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland