After reviewing professional communication skills in O&P, researchers created a toolkit and research agenda to facilitate progress in professional communication that can be extended and implemented in daily practice. The toolkit includes reading material such as research papers, frameworks, and position statements, in addition to ideas for training, teaching, and improving professional communication.
The researchers noted that despite being a key area in O&P training, they found no studies on professional communication with an experimental design published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International. As an alternative, they provided a paper containing clinical reflections on the changes in professional communication in the past 50 years and discussed questionnaire-based and qualitative studies that provided evidence for the importance of communication in pedorthic footwear provision.
The paper also includes information about how professional communication in O&P may be impacted by aging populations, global mobility, information technology, technological advances, and emphasis on prevention.
The authors wrote that the toolkit is not a static table in the article, but is intended to be used and extended in daily practice, in O&P education, in professional courses or conferences, or anywhere else. They also suggest that practitioners can add resources to the toolkit and share it via social media.
Recommendations from the research team include undertaking research on interventions to improve professional communication, and to study its effect on clinically meaningful outcomes. Interventions could include training professionals in using models or frameworks to facilitate communication, training professionals in specific communication techniques, developing and using visualization aids or other communication tools, and testing educational interventions.
The open-access paper, A toolkit for prosthetists and orthotists to facilitate progress in professional communication over the next 50 years, was published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.