2 healthcare trends Dr. Chester Donnally follows

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Preventive medicine and shifts in healthcare ownership are two key trends Chester Donnally, MD, is keeping an eye on.

Dr. Donnally, of Addison-based Texas Spine Consultants, joined the "Becker's Healthcare Spine and Orthopedic Podcast" on June 24 to discuss those trends.

This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full episode here.

Question: What have been some of the most interesting things happening in spine surgery? What trends are you watching?

Dr. Chester Donnally: Some of the things we were working on just from a basic science and research perspective at Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopaedic Institute was preventative medicine. So trying to figure out ways to be more minimally invasive. What if we took a step back and found a way to even maybe prevent patients from having to need surgery in the first place? I always jokingly say that joint surgery and sometimes sports medicine surgery kind of leads the way with new scientific breakthroughs. All their surgeries are relatively similar, so you're able to get big data and big studies looking at the joint studies better. But seeing what they've been able to do with both amnio and stem cell technology has been pretty interesting. It's hard to somewhat translate that into spine surgery since there's a million ways to do a discectomy. You can come from the side, you can use a tube or you can do it open. So there's a lot of patient variability. 

The other thing I'm interested in being younger in my career and the private group is you always hear about the hospital takeover or the big insurance takeover of medicine. So that's something that somewhat worries me. I only know what I know so far, and right now I think it's all pretty good. But then you hear about the guys who are just five, 10 or 20 years older than me telling me how much it's changed even in their careers. So trying to make sure that any change is kind of in favor of physicians, which is usually not always the case. 

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