Research is the acquisition of new information by scientific means. Research and development (R&D) is the exploration of that information to solve a problem, and product development is the process of making it a practical reality. These concepts are easily confused, particularly when one's attention is focused on new devices. Another element that must be considered is the technology transfer. Very real constraints exist for afield as small as prosthetics and orthotics that is rapidly adopting exotic new technology. These constraints involve issues of cost and information to guide manufacturing and utilization efforts. The O&P profession must weigh carefully issues involving the evaluation of new techniques and devices. O&P clinicians will also play an essential role in this area as well as in research, R&D and product development.
© 1994 American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists