CAPO Covers the Future of O&P

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The Canadian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics (CAPO) welcomed delegates, presenters, and exhibitors to Winnipeg, Manitoba, for its 16th annual conference, held June 18-21. There were 175 delegates in attendance, who were met by 150 exhibiting participants, representing 57 companies.

Delegate Barry MacKinnon, CO(c), of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, has attended the biannual conference more than a dozen times in the last 30 years. He told The O&P EDGE that "CAPO was great. I got a lot from the presenters, the presentations were all well done, and the displays of new products and innovations are always very helpful—you get to know what's going on in the market."

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada skyline.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada skyline.

The festivities started Wednesday morning, when early arrivers teed off at the daylong CAPO golf tournament, then traveled in the evening to the Museum of Man and Nature for the welcoming reception. The next morning, Peter W. Thomas, JD, kicked off the educational program with the keynote address, offering the audience his survey of U.S. coverage and reimbursement issues, with insight into how they may guide Canadian practice and policy in the future.

Dan Blocka, BSc, CO(c), president of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), set the tone for the conference with his presentation, titled, "The Future of P&O Globally." It covered what he calls the professions "merging of technical, medical, biomechanical, engineering, therapeutic, and psychosocial expertise."

The educational program covered every aspect of Blockas talk. Practical workshops covered fundamentals, including welding and shoe construction. A strong administrative schedule focused on legal issues, educational reform, reimbursement, and policy. An important topic of conversation was how the O&P profession plans to define itself to its own practitioners, the public, and funding agencies—as a healthcare profession or as a medical devices and services profession. Technical presentations, however, may have generated the most buzz. Topics included diabetic foot issues, functional electrical stimulation (FES), and sports design, among many others. One unusual session lent an artistic spirit to the proceedings—Wendy Smith, CP(c), a specialist in aesthetic prostheses, covered the art and science of tattooing on prostheses to create "wearable works of art."

Another heavily attended session was Touch Bionics presentation on the i-LIMB hand. Rob Kistenberg, MPH, CP, LP, FAAOP, who presented the i-LIMB, said that the technology "was very warmly received. I think people were very interested and excited about [the i-LIMB]." As for the conference itself, Kistenberg said, "I had a tremendous time.... The extent of collegiality at the meeting was palpable."

The next CAPO conference will be held in Quebec City, Quebec, August 4-7, 2010, with accommodations at the Hilton Quebec.

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