The patient-prosthetist relationship is characterized by the socket fit experience. This means that a prosthetist’s signature is our socket design and the quality of clinical care that supplements it. As such, the Infinite Socket uniquely partners three people – a LIM Clinical Specialist, a prosthetist, and a patient user. The three of us work closely to build this crucial relationship for success. My job as a LIM representative is to direct and manage our trio’s knowledge, perceptions, and needs. There are many things that create and maintain a happy outcome. I often make the analogy to our clinical partners and #LIMLegends that starting this relationship is much like a first date.
The prosthetic socket so intimately represents our literal and conceptual expectations, much like two individuals coming together. They overlap common interests with the expectation to discover something new. Despite unfamiliarity, both people want to have a good time and learn new things in the process. A prosthetist approaches a fitting with an established set of clinical expertise and principles. The patient actively participates by providing feedback and functional cues. Together, this patient-prosthetist date evolves like any close relationship.
As a LIM Clinical Specialist, I enter the patient-prosthetist formula at various stages. I carefully navigate and adapt to the existing relationship, sometimes remotely via online support and sometimes visiting in person. It’s a delicate approach, but also a privileged one. From it, I always learn new clinical styles and use this insight to become more relatable in future encounters. Introducing myself in this way has been warmly welcomed at all of my LIM Supported Fittings (LSFs) domestically and internationally. This is especially important given the pressures imposed upon the patient and the prosthetist by the payor process. These realities can often create confusion and miscommunication between me, the prosthetist, and the patient. Things only get more complicated when introducing personality and product nuances. Herein lies the critical aspect of managing our date.
Providing clinical support is very different for a socket product than a prosthetic knee joint or foot. I mentioned that the socket is a prosthetist’s signature, while the patient relies significantly on the socket interface as the primary means for walking. So, this puts me in a very strategic position to support the clinical relationship apart from technical troubleshooting. I view this opportunity as a way to bond over professional and industry challenges faced by the patient and prosthetist. It’s a think tank, it’s a support group, and it’s a moment to connect. This differs very much from my personal experience with prosthetic device manufacturers. Our industry has cultivated a vendor culture where service and support are concretely defined by the product itself. Establishing and sustaining the Infinite Socket’s impact at various levels is a much larger responsibility. In this way, I find my role as a Clinical Specialist to be very dynamic.
Like with any date or new experience in life, long term successes are built from thoughtful and genuine attention to the relationship. Thank you to all our partners and #LimLegends for this opportunity.