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posted on 11.08.2020by Isaac A. Cabrera, Trinity C. Pike, Joanna M. McKittrick, Marc A. Meyers, Ramesh R. Rao, Albert Y. Lin
Digital healthcare technologies are transforming the face of prosthetic care. Millions of amputees around the world do not currently have access to any form of prosthetic healthcare. However, digital technologies provide a promising solution. Digital healthcare technologies have the potential to augment the range and efficiency of prosthetists so they can reach more patients. These technologies will enable affordable prostheses to be built on a scale larger than currently possible with today’s clinical practices. In this paper, we explore the social aspects of amputation as a global issue, describe current practices for designing and manufacturing prosthetic sockets, and examine shifting trends towards virtual care models. Importantly, we assess the technologies used in these virtual health workflows to understand their critical needs. Large technological gaps need to be overcome in order to enable the mass production and distribution of prostheses digitally. However, recent advances in computational methods and CAD/CAM technologies are bridging this gap faster than ever before. We foresee that these technologies will return mobility and economic opportunity to amputees on a global scale in the near future.