'The biggest barrier is the perception that this is a man's job': What we heard in February

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Spine and orthopedic experts and leaders spoke with Becker's Spine Review on key topics in February from social media practices to the payer landscape.

1. "The biggest barrier is the perception that this is a man's job," Jane Tan, MD, of Atlanta-based Resurgens Orthopaedics, on roadblocks for female orthopedic surgeons. "These misconceptions start early and often dissuade female medical students from even applying (essentially, the battle is lost before it is begun). This is why it is important to encourage medical students, and even high school students who have a love of biology, sports and/or mechanics, to think about this career as a real, tangible opportunity." 

2. "With the overall growth of Florida coupled with the aging of the population, new market entrants are not unexpected," Donnie Romine, CEO of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeast Orthopedics Specialists, on orthopedic competition in the state. "I think the key to the success of any organization in this space will be their willingness to think differently, shed the ideas and models of the past and embrace a willingness to bring all stakeholders to the table. We have seen in Florida that payers and health systems are focusing on those organizations with an integrated platform that can effectively drive outcomes and value in sustainable ways across markets, especially as greater patient choice and consumerism are playing a key role." 

3. "Social media can be an asset to your practice life or a toxin," Brian Gantwerker, MD, of The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles, on using social media as a surgeon. "Some doctors pride themselves on having millions of followers. It is so interesting to me to ask them how it has translated into being better. Full disclosure: I don’t have millions of followers. I use my online presence to inform, educate and encourage followers and patients to be aware of the difficulties faced by doctors and healthcare workers. I let my work and care speak for itself. I rarely share surgical pictures and think it is a tad self-serving and even egotistical at worst. I tend to keep my successes to myself and try to let happy patients do what they do best: refer other patients." 

4. "Insurance companies are increasingly demanding evidence of physical therapy or other conservative treatments prior to authorization for imaging and intervention," Patrick Roth, MD, of Oradell-based New Jersey Brain and Spine, on the payer landscape in spine surgery. "While this may appear to protect patients, it is really to limit the cost of care. Imaging is perceived as leading to procedures (and it often does), but imaging is often essential for diagnosis — and when properly evaluated — can actually limit procedures. The challenge is that clinicians have an incentive to treat and insurers have an incentive to limit treatment. Thus there is misalignment with the patient who simply wants to feel better."

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