Patients, physicians, insurers and the internet: How 1 spine surgeon says patient care is evolving

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The increasing demands of patients is making it difficult for surgeons to meet their expectations, according to one spine surgeon. 

Maurice Goins, MD, is a spine surgeon at Atlanta-based Resurgens Orthopaedics, whose expertise includes reconstructive spine surgery, total disc arthroplasty and general orthopedics. He recently spoke with Becker's about the trends he is following in spinal surgery, the technologies improving patient care and how he sees the industry evolving.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?

Dr. Maurice Goins: I believe there are many challenges, [including] providing care to an increasingly skeptical and demanding patient population that is continuing to grow in size that ultimately is outpacing the growth of practitioners. Compared to five to 10 years ago, there was a shift in patient care where it became a combined approach involving more of the patient-physician relationship to make a quality decision for patient care going forward. Over the past five years, in particular during the pandemic, our patient population has become ever more knowledgeable and even more demanding of the care provided, which makes it more challenging to meet their expectations. The shift in care is now the patient, who is a consumer along with the insurer, the physician and the internet.

Q: What technologies/innovations are coming into the industry that will improve efficiency and quality of care?

MG: I do believe that technological advances and elevations that are coming in our industry such as disc replacements, less invasive procedures and image guidance systems will ultimately improve the surgeries that we do, changing our practices and allowing us to be more effective in providing more optimal patient care and ultimately meeting their expectations. This will allow us to provide better quality care with what I believe would be better outcomes.

Q: How do you see your practice/the industry evolving in the next three to five years?

MG: One thing that is constant is change. I do not believe our industry is any different. The way we practice medicine today is clearly not the way we used to practice it 20 years ago, nor is the way we practice today the way we will practice it in the future. I believe in the future my practice will incorporate more motion-sparing procedures. I also believe it will incorporate increasingly more minimally invasive procedures that will utilize the newer imaging technology and robotics.

Q: What industry trends are you following?

MG: The industry trends are image guidance, less invasive procedures, and motion sparing. Improvements and ultimately our skill set and equipment will allow this to be carried into the future. Sometimes changes occur very slowly, but when it changes, in particular in medicine, most people adapt rapidly.

Q: What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given during your career?

MG: I have been fortunate in my practice and medical career to have many mentors who provided me with excellent advice and strategies. So it is difficult to narrow the advice down to one thing. If I had to, I would say the greatest piece of advice that was given to me was to maintain diligence in your craft, continue to reassess your practice and practice trends, and do not be afraid to change when you see something better.

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