NAAOP Fellows Visit The Academy, OPIE Software, and Hanger Clinics

By Alicia Carver and Susannah Engdahl, Ph.D.

The week of June 17th was a busy one for the NAAOP Fellows. We began our week with a visit to the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, where we met the team and attended a weekly staff meeting. We learned about how the Academy compiles educational and research resources, such as the Online Learning Center, the Exam Preparation Seminars, and the Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics, that allow members to continue learning new ways to meet patient needs. We would especially like to thank Chellie Hollis Blondes, Executive Director, and Manisha Bhaskar, Senior Director of Communications & Marketing, for taking time to share with us their roles in leading the Academy.

Immediately after our visit to the Academy, we hopped on a plane to Florida to see the Gainesville Prosthetics and Orthotics clinic and meet Paul Prusakowski, CPO, FAAOP, and CEO of OPIE Software. We learned about the history of OPIE from Paul and spent the rest of the day talking with other members of the OPIE team about their areas of expertise. In particular, we heard about the software development cycle, customer experiences with implementing the software, the knowledge-centered customer support system used when answering customer questions, and the OPIE Choice Network.

After returning from Florida, we spent two days touring the Hanger Clinic in Laurel, MD and in Washington, DC at the National Rehabilitation Hospital. We had the opportunity to sit in on several patient visits in Laurel, including with a patient who was new to that particular clinic. During this visit, we were able to observe how the prosthetist used patient-reported outcome measures to assess the patient’s current functional status and evaluated the socket fit to determine if a new prosthesis was needed. We also had a conversation with Suzi Vicino, Directory of Utilization Management Services, about successful strategies for submitting clinical documentation for reimbursement.

At the National Rehabilitation Hospital, we learned about the differences in how an O&P clinic operates when embedded in a hospital. After sitting-in on a patient visit and observing how modifications are made to a test socket, we toured the two therapy gyms at the hospital and learned how the prosthetists, orthotists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists strive to coordinate with each other to maximize their patients’ success. We would like to thank Maggie Baumer, an NAAOP board member, for organizing the trip and accompanying us during our entire time at Hanger. She introduced us to so many of her colleagues who shared their experiences.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to meet with us on our trips this past week, and for showing us such warm hospitality! We enjoyed this week very much and appreciate the efforts of everyone who made it possible.

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