What You Need To Know About Dispensing Diabetic Shoes

Author(s): 
Jonathan Moore, DPM

   There are now programs available that take the job of documentation procurement out of the hands of the office. The process simply requires entering patient and shoe information into a secure website portal. The MD will be contacted twice per week to ensure that he or she complies with the Medicare requirements. The physician will then sign and fax the forms right back to your office.

Ensuring Your Diabetic Shoe Program Offers Quality And Variety

The next key ingredients for a successful diabetic shoe program are the quality and the variety of the product.

   It goes without saying that we are no longer just competing with other podiatric physicians for many of the services that we offer in our market. We are competing with pharmacies and other DME companies.

   Carrying one brand of diabetic shoe is not sufficient to provide the wide variety of choice appropriate for a diverse patient population.

   In my office, I carry well-known brands like New Balance and Brooks as well as other predominately diabetic shoe brands like Orthofeet and Apex. I carry several varieties of Lycra shoes that afford a seam-free, soft upper for those with deformities or those who use ankle foot orthoses. I carry many styles and types of shoes in order to have the best choice in my community. In my opinion, it is imperative to have a variety of shoe shapes to accommodate the variety of foot types that we see.

   The key is that the doctor should have oversight over what kind of shoe the patient needs for his or her foot type. It should not be the case that patients choose the shoe without guidance. These principles are something that your diabetic shoe coordinator can also learn to avoid patients getting the wrong type of shoe for their feet.

   I personally prefer companies like SafeStep that offer a variety of brands and other services that make my shoe program run more efficiently.

Keys To Ensuring A Proper Fit For Shoes

A successful diabetic shoe program requires training and protocols to make sure you get patients’ fit right the first time. Using a measuring device like a Brannock device does not always secure the exact shoe size you need for every brand of shoe. Some shoes come in small sizes and some come big. Additionally, it is often difficult to know the exact shoe size to order unless you have a run of shoe sizes in stock for patients to try on before ordering. Carrying a run of your most commonly used diabetic shoes in your practice is not only inexpensive. It is imperative. A conscientious diabetic shoe coordinator, with your help, will help you capture these runs for use in your office. This will often reduce returns and headaches for them in the long run.

   Assessing your own diabetic shoe error rate (errors in measurements or ordering) may open your eyes to underlying problems that need to be fixed. There should not be an error rate over 10 to 15 percent when it comes to ordering and receiving shoes. If your office has an error rate above that of 15 to 20 percent, having someone come in and troubleshoot your operation can be of great help. Such an audit or training session will include performing a shoe fitting workshop or measuring clinic for your staff or diabetic shoe coordinator along with learning the shoe types and styles that are best for different foot types. The shoe sizing process is not easy and it takes staff that are trained and experienced at understanding foot types, shoe style sizing and fitting.

   Training your diabetic shoe coordinator and other ancillary staff is fundamental for achieving success in your practice. The benefit of suppliers like SafeStep is that they will provide webinars and even onsite training to help support and grow your diabetic shoe program. You can prevent re-orders and mistakes the first time by simply having protocols to make sure you choose the right shoe with the right size.

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