I have seen many posts wherein the prosthetist is looking for a professional referral recipient of the patient that was just fitted with a brand new prosthesis and is returning to their country of origin. We all know that the profit returns for time, materials, and energy are diminished when follow-up care is calculated into the equation. Yet it is the follow-up care that justifies the industry-driven prices of the product delivered in the United States of America to the patient seeking professional services of the highest quality. Thus it is most profitable to receive a patient from abroad, fit them with a well-advertised high-tech limb, and usher them out the door.
It would be refreshing to see a cost-profit share offer from the delivery end of the transaction, that would help with the follow-up required for long term success of the prosthesis or orthosis that was fitted. I think an appropriate and generous sponsorship to a technical course involving the high-tech system received by the patient, or a monetary contribution/partial refund via follow-up billing payments to the receiving end of the particular case, would demonstrate true concern for the professional result of services delivered. I challenge Prosthetists and Orthotists in the US to follow through with their professional counterparts of other countries, especially in developing regions, with a partnership attitude for mutual benefit and professional growth, rather than slapping a referral name in the palm of their quickly fitted patient as they run off to the bank to make a cash deposit.
Developing partnerships with peers in other countries might be one of the most rewarding opportunities encountered, and might serve to link our profession as it evolves worldwide. In my opinion something professional has been lost to the O&P Industry in America. Perhaps it can be replenished with an international perspective.