This is the first in a two part series on today's insole industry.
The fulfillment of custom medical devices (ie. insole/orthotic) is complicated and labor intensive. Even with the latest technology, clinicians spend exorbitant amounts of time and money providing a single pair of orthotics. This is due to the fact that the fulfillment process remains mostly analogue and extremely fragmented. These are the 3 reasons why clinicians are being held back.
In order to make an orthotic, clinicians will have to make an impression of a patient's feet. Many clinicians still rely on plaster casts for this and spend up to 25 minutes applying and drying the impressions. After completing this messy and time consuming process, the production process stays on-hold until the cast has been delivered to the producer by snail mail. That’s assuming it arrives intact!
The introduction of laser scanners has allowed clinicians to map their patients’ feet in 20 seconds. These scanners, however, come at a hefty price, are not mobile, and rely on outdated software. More recently, we have seen the introduction of affordable scanners which are mounted on tablets. The applications which drive these scanners might look better, but - just like its predecessors - require the user to send scan files via email or dropbox to producers. A recipe for confusion!
III. Prescriptions & inquiries
After sending the impressions to the producer, clinicians still have to fill out a prescription form. This is usually a handwritten form - which gets scanned - or PDF which gets e-mailed to the producer separately. We know from experience, however, that the journey for a clinician usually doesn’t end here. Prescription updates, delivery changes, product updates, general inquiries are usually communicated through messaging programs (ie. whatsapp),email and / or phone calls.
Lets take a step back and look at the bigger picture. An average clinician (ie. podiatrist) orders 25 orthotics per month. The information required to complete these orders is often sent in 4 parts and via 5 different platforms (ie. snail mail, email, dropbox, calls and whatsapp). Finally, an average orthotic gets delivered in 2-6 weeks.
So in a worst case scenario, clinicians are required to know where 100 order fragments are across 5 platforms for a period of 6 weeks. Confused already? Our clinicians were, until GROM.