Fabricating and fitting orthoses and prostheses requires a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and kinesiology - in short, how the bodys components operate and interrelate.
About 3,200 orthotists and prosthetists in the United States have demonstrated their competence in these areas by meeting the standards set by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABC). ABC grants three credentials:
Because the standards set by ABC demonstrate competence, physicians have historically referred their patients to ABC-certified orthotists and prosthetists. Many state and federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, also require service provision by ABC-certified practitioners.
Areas of Competency
To maintain certification, a practitioner must meet established continuing education requirements. Rigorous education, certification and continuing education standards are one means by which competency and quality in health care service delivery are measured. These requirements clearly demonstrate that ABC-certified practitioners are the most qualified providers of orthotic and prosthetic care. These high standards are also important for payer and provider organizations, which can be assured that their practitioners will deliver high quality, cost-effective care. Thus, the knowledge, clinical, and technical skills of these practitioners are essential in assisting patients with acute, comprehensive rehabilitation or chronic care needs.