The use of a remote footwear manufacturing facility in China to provide high quality, cost effective footwear for residents in South Australia.

Fiona Murray1, Claire Easterbrook1, Johnathon Hereen2

1Country Health South Australia Local Health Network 22 King William Street Adelaide SA 5000   fiona.murray@health.sa.gov.au
2Comfootcare, 2 Dunalbyn Drive Aberfoyle Park.  Comfootcare@qq.com

The provision of appropriate footwear for clients with clinically high-risk feet is a key strategy in reducing recurrent ulcerations and maintaining independence.

Background

Footwear prescribed by podiatrists in Country Health South Australia (CHSA) has historically been provided by traditional boot makers. Each boot maker uses different measuring and construction methods, which are traditional hand crafting techniques; dependent on the experience of the boot maker. They are time and labour intensive which is reflected in the cost of the footwear. Most boot makers are located in Adelaide, which can mean multiple, long trips for many clients in order to obtain shoes.

Methods

A partnership was developed with a pedorthotist based in China who has developed the ‘SmartFit Scanning System©’.  This system consists of a portable 3D foot scanner with a bespoke software application that produces a 3D image of the foot which can be digitally adjusted. By utilising this unique technology it means that footwear can be manufactured  remotely without the pedorthotist actually seeing the client. This has required the development of a unique partnership approach between the pedothotist in China and the Podiatrist working in CHSA.

Results

Clients that received footwear using the SmartFit Scanning System©, found it more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. There was a 30-50% reduction in costs, delivery time averaged 6-8 weeks versus 3-6 months.

Discussion

This project supports the concept of remote manufacturing to provide access to  timely, cost effective, aesthetically pleasing and functionally appropriate footwear,  for clients in even the most remote areas in Australia.

Biography

Originally from the UK I moved to South Australia in 2012 to take up the post of Advanced Clinical Lead Podiatrist for Country Health South Australia (CHSA).  Since qualifying in 1988 I have worked in many different clinical settings covering the whole scope of podiatry practice. I have published and presented on different aspects of the Diabetic Foot, wound healing and patient psychology.Since my move to CHSA I have focused on driving consistency in clinical care and the introduction of objective measures for clinical care to improve quality of care for people in Country South Australia.