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Accelerating Prosthetic Delivery for the Win-Win-Win

It is generally accepted that fitting a patient with a prosthetic limb sooner can have big benefits in terms of patient outcomes. This is especially true for patients who have recently lost a limb and are enduring a huge life adjustment. Timely delivery of replacement prosthetics is no less important to patients suffering from the results of a prosthetic that no longer fits.

How big a benefit is the subject of a recent study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AJPMR). This study is referred to as The IMPACT study which suggests that “delaying or not providing a prosthesis increases direct healthcare costs by approximately 25 percent over the initial 12 months post-amputation.

Why does it typically take so long to fit a prosthetic device today? Traditional fabrication requires several labor-intensive steps. Certain steps introduce delays such as waiting for casts to dry, mixing plaster and waiting for it to dry, both on the initial positive model and any buildups that are added during the modify step.

CFabs used for fabricating check sockets can also add delay. These include delays due to order processing time and shipping delays, as well as transit time. These delays are in addition to the actual check socket fabrication time. Each delay pushing out patient fitting and ultimately provider reimbursement.

So how can a practice reduce the delivery interval between initial patient consultation and definitive prosthetic delivery?  The answer involves digital workflows and automation of the check socket fabrication step. Check sockets are a necessary step in the fitting process. Streamlining the fabrication has a direct impact on compressing device delivery duration.

Digital workflows for device fabrication can be summarized as scan, modify, print. Within digital workflows, patients can be scanned at home or in a hospital setting and shared electronically, models can be created from scan (or measurements) then modified from anywhere. Device print files can be created with the touch of a button and sent to the printer digitally.

Device fabrication can be largely automated with additive manufacturing. Check socket print files can be delivered electronically to begin fabrication immediately. Prints can be printed while resources focus on other activities such as seeing more patients.

Streamlining check socket fabrication through digital workflows and automation through additive manufacturing is truly a win-win-win. Patients get fitted sooner, providers reduce time to reimbursement and insurance companies benefit through lower cost of care.