Spine practices must 'understand and accept our interdependence,' Dr. Jeffrey Cantor says

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Jeffrey Cantor, MD, of Cantor Spine Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., outlined the biggest obstacle facing spine providers during COVID-19 and how practices can support each other during this challenging period.

Q: What is the biggest obstacle facing spine providers at the moment?

Dr. Jeffrey Cantor: The biggest obstacle facing spine surgeons is paradigm. 'The way things are done' and the arduous process of change. We have a tendency to do 'what we do,' even when there are better ways and techniques. It takes a long time and huge personal effort to change. Robotics, image guidance, ultrasonics and biocompatible materials are just a few of the things that can change and improve the way we do things. Are we going to use them to make a different shape or color screw, or are we going to use them to figure out a way to not use screws at all?

Q: How can spine practices help one another during this turbulent period?

JC: Understand and accept our interdependence. Continue to collaborate, share ideas and educate each other.

Q: How has your practice navigated the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic? What have been your keys to success?

JC: COVID-19 gave one gift to spine surgeons that is desperately needed and never available — time. Time to think. Time to critically look at our processes, both nonsurgical and surgical. Time to review our cases, digest data and understand what we are doing well, and more importantly, what we are not. Time to develop ways to better help our patients. 

Q: What will the spine field look like one year from now? What do you see being different and what will remain the same?  

JC: As in other industries, spine surgeons will interact with their patients and among themselves remotely. Virtual reality will take over our educational process, and possibly even work into our interaction with our patients. We have already seen a huge improvement in our ability to interact with, accurately evaluate and solve our patients' problems at a distance. Hopefully, that trend will continue. 

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