Editor's Note

Free to Be CRT

flowers growing out of the crack between pavers

SNOWDROPS: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/VIDKA

This is the time of year for innovation, or at least the time of year for seating and mobility product launches. Cue the spotlights and confetti! Of course, the latest and greatest tech offerings typically have spent months or years in development, from conceptual stages through early designs, early testing, design changes, more testing. There’s paperwork. There are focus groups and beta testing, all of which lead to design tweaking and more testing. Even once a product launches, there’s marketing (to people like me) and educating, and of course, endless listening to and incorporating feedback from professional and end users.

In this, our International Seating Symposium issue, we look at some of the hows behind the making of the complex rehab technology (CRT) industry. Our cover story, by Associate Editor Haley Samsel, analyzes the convergence of CRT and robotics (page 14) — what’s already happening now, and what the future could look like.

For our second feature story, we asked what qualities and skills define a successful ATP. Earning the right college degree(s)? Knowing the technology? Understanding funding and documentation policies? Emotional intelligence and knowing how to work with the rest of the seating and mobility team? The industry took our survey, and we share the answers here (page 20).

These two stories have a common thread. There is something different, something unique about successful CRT products and the successful professionals who recommend, build and fit them. On the tech side, we heard that sometimes, a CRT product that gets its start with a major company — Microsoft or Toyota? — eventually has to leave that resource-rich environment to be able to move to the next level. CRT is not your average consumer product, and its unique needs can get lost within a huge company. CRT reminds me of a smart, dreamy, offbeat kid who has to strike out on his or her own. Love ya, Mom and Dad, and thanks for everything, but I’ve gotta be me!

That’s CRT.

Similarly, our story on making great ATPs is full of references to intangible qualities, or at least to combinations of qualities that don’t always show up in a pen-and-paper exam or quick job interview. Survey respondents emphasized that there’s far more to this job than book smarts. You need people smarts, and this-isn’t-working-now-what-should-we-do smarts. Basic professionalism is important — Be clean, courteous and well mannered, said one survey participant — but so is having a truckload of patience and the ability to maintain a positive attitude throughout lengthy procurement cycles.

Success isn’t always easy for CRT or the people who serve its consumers. The landscape isn’t always friendly. But the rewards can be beautiful.

Happy Innovation Season. Go forth and conquer.

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 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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