What 3 surgeons want to see done differently in the spine, orthopedic surgery industries

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Three surgeons recently spoke with Becker's about what they would like to see done differently in the spine and orthopedic industries.

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What would you like to see done differently in the orthopedic and spine surgery industries?

Sean Rajaee, MD. Co-director of the Outpatient Hip and Knee Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles): I would like to see a shift toward having more surgeons involved in healthcare policy decisions that impact our day-to-day care for patients and their outcomes. 

Rajiv Sethi, MD. Executive Medical Director of Neurosciences and Spine at Virginia Mason (Seattle): The orthopedic and spine industry partners should help surgeons understand the importance of healthcare economics in the delivery of advanced surgical care via educational series and platforms. This is of utmost importance in a time where the healthcare dollar is stretched. Our complex spine fellows, researchers and attending staff at Virginia Mason are tasked with studying algorithms like time-driven activity based costing and finding cost-effective mechanisms to drive quality and best outcomes for the orthopedic and spine patients that visit us from all regions of the United States.  

Jonathan Vigdorchik, MD. Orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City): There are several things I would like to see change in the orthopedic industry: speed of innovation and the creation of products that add value to the surgeon and patient. The industry currently innovates too slowly. Companies call themselves medtech companies but release new products in three to five years, even for software updates or feature changes. This needs to mimic what we see in the tech industry: updates every few months and upgrades at least every year. 

The next thing is the release of products that actually add value. Too many times I have seen a product released that is a triumph of engineering without actually having a clinical usefulness, or a copy cat "me too" product just to say you have one. The term "minimum viable product" needs to disappear from the industry, and companies should create products that add value by saving time for the surgeon, is easy to use by all to increase speed of adoption by all (even non-tech users) and making a more reliably consistent outcome free of complications for the patients.

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