Editor's Note

It's Who You Know

For obvious self-serving reasons, I like to think I’m not a complete dunce. I do all right when watching Jeopardy! on TV.

But that wasn’t helpful as I prepared for a breakfast meeting with Dr. Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv University. We were at the Westin Bayshore for the International Seating Symposium, but I’d met Dr. Gefen the evening before at The ROHO Group’s reception. At that time, I was handed a pair of clinical articles that he’d be presenting on, and he’d graciously invited me to sit down to chat the next morning, before his session. I’d therefore spent part of my evening cramming in a way I hadn’t done since college.

I’ll take “Help, I Was Only an English Major” for $100, Alex.

Thanks to all of you and my 12+ years at the editorial helm of Mobility Management, I understood much of what the papers said. Whew! But I still dreaded looking like an idiot in front of Dr. Gefen, so I decided to come clean as soon as we sat down in the Westin’s restaurant.

“I’m not a clinician,” I confessed before the coffee even arrived. “I’m not an ATP. So while I have learned a lot over the years, I apologize ahead of time for anything I won’t understand, or any time I have to ask you to repeat or rephrase something.”

Dr. Gefen waved that away.

“Don’t worry,” he said in a tone clearly intended to put me at ease. “I’m not a clinician either. My Ph.D. is in biomedical engineering.”

Alex, I’ll try “That’s not comforting at all” for $500.

Fortunately, Dr. Gefen is very good at explaining his work on pressure ulcers, and his engineering background gives him tools that could help the seating & mobility industry to attain the outcome measures so much in demand, but so difficult to collect in this small field with highly individualized clients. Read about it in our New Discoveries column, page 28.

Also in this issue, we hear from the folks at The VGM Group. Everyone in the industry knows how providers are constantly being asked to achieve more with fewer resources. Our New Perspectives column (page 24) is designed to help CRT providers of all sizes, but is especially written for smaller independent providers whose staffers have to wear a number of different hats. Take a look at what the VGM team has to say in this issue about advocacy.

And we close this issue with one more column: a commentary by Mark E. Smith (page 30). Seating & mobility clinicians and providers are always being asked to prove the efficacy of the services and equipment they provide. You and your clients know what an impact your expertise and the technology make — but since funding sources clamor for hard numbers, Mark helpfully provides them. His calculations concerning the cost of his first power wheelchair and the subsequent return on his funding source’s investment should give all payors something to think about.

Reporters by nature tend to be big believers in the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I like to think I’m not completely hopeless, but I know that’s much more likely to be true when I’m clutching a bunch of your business cards in one hand and my phone in the other. As I type this, I’m working with several other generous folks who are experts in various aspects of the industry, and we’ll be bringing you their advice in these pages in the coming months.

Alex, I’ll take Surround Yourself with Smart People for $1,000.

This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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