WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy) announced it will invest an unprecedented $210,000 in orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) research initiatives. Using scientific, research-based tactics, the Academy hopes to develop new protocols to significantly enhance patient care standards. Through these research initiatives, the Academy also aspires to help practitioners to increase insurance reimbursements.
This investment combines the best practices of all Academy pillars: education, research, and advocacy. After commissioning extensive scoping reviews last year, the Academy identified six key areas for funding priority and has announced the first initiatives. The Academy dove into its first research initiative last month by convening a State-of-the-Science Conference in Florida on "Body Powered Versus Myoelectric Upper Extremity Prostheses." A variety of 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." In light of recent reimbursement challenges based on a lack of clinical and economic evidence, there is a pressing need to understand and document the cost-effectiveness of prosthetic rehabilitation for transtibial amputee patients. Funding has also been allocated for a broader systematic review on "Outcome Measures for Persons Post-Stroke Who Utilize Orthoses." The Academy aims to research a variety of recommended clinically viable outcome measures and to document the effect of ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) on stroke patients.