The Importance Of Seeing Accredited Orthotists and Prosthetists
Going to school for a skilled medical profession is one thing – becoming accredited for it is another. Some non-surgical medical professionals aren’t certified for specific kinds of work. While these people have the practical knowledge, they’re not bound to a code of ethics and standard of care imposed by a legitimate organization for oversight. You deserve the best care, and that’s precisely why it’s important to understand the education and certification that the best orthotists and prosthetists should receive.
The Education Orthotists And Prosthetists Receive
The education that orthotists and prosthetists receive is similar to the education any professional would need in a medical or medical adjacent field. These range from bachelor’s to master’s degrees from an educational institution qualified to teach the relevant curriculum.
These programs focus strongly on the anatomy and physiology of the human body, which is crucially important to the work that orthotists and prosthetists do. Teaching also focuses on fitting and fabricating devices that will truly improve the quality of a patient’s life, as well as the core set of skills necessary to treat patients in a professional and efficient way.
After students have obtained their degrees, a significant portion of them will go on to complete their residency. This is similar to the residency that anyone else in a medical field would complete before beginning their careers. Accredited residency programs match these students with relevant residency programs.
By the time an orthotist or prosthetist begins working, he or she already has practical experience in the field. Their techniques and knowledge have been reinforced and expanded upon by existing professionals who already excel in the work that they do. This assures that no patient is left in the care of a prosthetist or orthotist who has never had experience assisting an actual patient – by the time they get to you, they’re well versed in proper methodology and have mastered their skills.
How Orthotists And Prosthetists Become Certified
The official certification authority for orthotists, prosthetists, and pedorthics is the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics. This board, established in 1948, has spent decades defining standards of care and performance for professionals who work in the industries it encompasses.
The ABC offers specific certifications for different kinds of work in the field. A mastectomy specialist, for example, would receive a different certification from an orthotist. This makes the process thorough and specific, assuring that every accredited individual is recognized for their centralized area of work.
ABC certified professionals go through an extensive process to receive that certification. It’s a lot more than submitting relevant educational credentials and signing a pledge. Professionals seeking certification must pass a two day clinical exam, as well as a thorough written test and a written situational simulation. If they are found to be performing at a satisfactory level after evaluation, they will be granted their certification.
Their certification needs to be renewed every five years. Orthotists and prosthetists who don’t stay in practice and continually learn the evolving and improving standards within the industry likely won’t be able to receive recertification. This incentivizes orthotists and prosthetists to keep learning and stay abreast to the advances technology has made in their fields, replacing outdated methodology with revolutionary techniques and standards of care.
ABC will also accredit an entire facility. This encompasses practices, staff, equipment, and even the way the facility is managed. A facility accreditation needs to be renewed every three years, versus every five years.
The Difference In Experience
Since certification exists to hold practitioners accountable and create a uniform standard, practitioners who do not have that certification ultimately do not have an authority to answer to or comply with. If your orthotist or prosthetist is not certified, it’s likely that they are not using the highest standards and practices to provide care for the patients they see.
Ultimately, this becomes a gamble. When it comes to your health and safety, this is not a risk you want to take. Properly certified prosthetists and orthotists will proudly display their credentials and certifications for all patients and potential patients to see. This is what distinguishes outstanding experts from inferior care providers.
Specific Licensure Requirements
There are several underqualified orthotic and prosthetic care providers who continue to exist without this accreditation, despite its availability to every practitioner in the field. Because of this, some areas require specific licensure for the practice of orthotic and prosthetic work. This licensure is designed to protect patients who may receive subpar care from providers who are not operating under the same standards that certified care providers utilize.
An ideal prosthetist or orthotist will be both accredited and licensed where licensure is available. The more accountability, the better the standard of care is likely to be. If your orthotist or prosthetist isn’t accredited, assure that they are licensed if your area requires licensure.