The jump from gut-feel to data

by | Apr 11, 2022 | Team story, Team story | 0 comments

He dares! Orthopedic technician and CPO (Certified Prostesist/Orthosist) Gerben Dokter takes the leap during the pandemic to join Manometric. After years of following his gut and experience, he now fully embraces algorithms and data.

Pioneering

My Manometric-adventure started in 2018 with a simple search on LinkedIn. I was curious how I could use 3D technology as an experienced orthopedic technician and Manometric founders Pieter and Robin thought about this. A first cup of coffee was planned quickly. I experienced our conversations as very inspiring: the way of working and thinking with new technology was so different from what I was used to. Especially so promising. I asked Manometric to develop fingersplints in a new material, to replace the expensive silver. This became the popular AirSplint. We have developed the technology for this product. Fantastic. That is almost impossible to accomplish as traditional orthopedic technician.

I’ve worked for more than twenty years as orthopedic technician at reputable companies when I decided to let go of all certainties. The collaboration tasted for more. I find pioneering fantastic: developing new products, starting with a blank sheet. I enormously enjoy it and for me it can’t go fast enough. I want to bring innovation into orthopedic technology. So I thought: “This ship is leaving and I have to be on board. I don’t want to stand on the sidelines and wave the ship goodbye.”

Working together

Of course this is exciting. I have a wife, two kids and a house. And I traded the certainty of a good job for the uncertainty of a start-up. But I didn’t regret my decision for one moment. Even when the first lockdown started. We couldn’t receive any patients, so we’ve used the time well to develop new braces and splints. What a pleasure to work with this talented team: we make decisions quickly and adequately, evaluate and are on to the next thing.

And then the world slightly opens up again and we can see patients. Of course with a lot of safety measures. But it was a perfect situation for our 3D Scanner, because we can take precise measurements from 1.5 meters in a safe manner. Amazing to be able to apply technology for what it’s intended after three years of development and testing. And to see happy patients, because that’s why we do it. We will continue as long as necessary till the patient is happy, till we a brace or splint fits perfectly. We will easily restart the process a few times if that is necessary.

Objectify

In the past I produced all splints and braces myself in the workshop. Taking the hot-air gun to adjust the material a little bit based on my gut and experience. I had to let this go, because working with 3D technology is completely different. And you should not put me behind a computer! Today I work with designers and engineers in a modern workshop full of 3D printers. We translate the gut and experience of the orthopedic technicians into software: we accumulate data and improve our algorithms every day. This way we basically objectify orthopedic technology. We use all that data to standardize, but at the same time develop a unique custom-fit product for every patient.

In 2018 I was the first and only orthopedic technologist and CPO within Manometric. Now I’m leading a team of orthopedic technologists. That means I’m less often fitting braces and splints, but rather taking my team through my way of thinking and working. The patient is number #1 and they can leave their hot-air gun at home. I am proud of where we are at the moment and how we innovate orthopedic technology. And to get back on the leaving ship: we absolutely have the wind at our back.

Gerben Dokter

Gerben Dokter

Lead O&P

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