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Academy to Invest $210,000 in O&P Research

The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy) will invest $210,000 in O&P research initiatives. Using scientific, research-based tactics, the Academy said it hopes to develop new protocols to enhance patient care standards, and to help practitioners increase insurance reimbursements. After commissioning scoping reviews last year, the Academy identified six key areas for funding priority and has announced the first initiatives, as described below.

A practitioner assists a patient. Photograph courtesy of the Academy.

The Academy held a State-of-the-Science Conference in Florida last month on “Body Powered Versus Myoelectric Upper Extremity Prostheses,” during which subject matter experts convened for two days to discuss the topic.
“Currently, there is insufficient evidence regarding the functional differences in upper-limb prostheses,” said M. Jason Highsmith, PT, DPT, PhD, CP, FAAOP, chair of the research council and immediate past president of the Academy. “This State-of-the-Science Conference will help to inform upper-limb prosthesis selection and design to ensure that patients experience the best functional benefit for their specific needs.”

Another conference is planned to discuss and brainstorm the “Economics of Transtibial Prostheses.” Funding has also been allocated for a broader systematic review on “Outcome Measures for Persons Post-Stroke Who Utilize Orthoses,” with the aim of researching clinically viable outcome measures and to document the effect of AFOs on patients who have experienced strokes. Also, research funding from the Academy will evaluate “Metabolic Expenditure on Transtibial Prosthetic Users,” with the goals of providing practitioners a resource to improve clinical practice, select interventions suited to the needs of individual patients, provide justification for prosthetic-related components and services, and inspire evidence-based care.

“The Academy is making a significant investment in the future of O&P clinical care,” said Academy President Rick Miller, CO, FAAOP. “I am thrilled that we are taking a leading role in developing research opportunities across such a broad range of focus areas.”