Orthopedic and Spine Industry Leader to Know: Dr. Christian Zimmerman of Idaho Neurological Institute

Written by Rachel Fields | August 02, 2010 | Print  |
In an industry where lower fees and increased scrutiny are becoming a way of life, Christian Zimmerman, MD, saves money for his facility by simplifying his practice. In a March interview with Becker's Orthopedic and Spine Review, he said Idaho Neurological Institute's greatest achievement in 2009 was the conception of a strategy of competition and reduced pricing that "initiated a windfall of savings."

Dr. Zimmerman currently serves as chairman and medical director of Idaho Neurological Institute and co-chairman of Spinal Medicine Institute at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. He co-founded the Idaho Neurological Institute in 1993.

He said his facility responded to the impact of the economic downturn by focusing on negotiation, often a challenge for smaller facilities that don't have the same clout as hospitals. "Our organization negotiated with the larger vendors of spinal implant products for best pricing and actually created a large cost saving measure with the operating rooms," Dr. Zimmerman said. "This also triggered other vendors within other specialties the opportunity to investigate and implement cost saving measures in their respective disciplines."

During a time when so many facilities are struggling to stay alive, Dr. Zimmerman says the most important thing spine surgeons can do is focus on patient satisfaction and trust. "The largest opportunities [in the field of spine surgery] reside in re-engagement of patient trust by the establishment and adherence of national guidelines and certification for spinal surgery," he said.

In terms of personal advancement, Dr. Zimmerman repeated words of advice passed to him by his parents, in-laws and mentors: Work hard, respect everyone and do the right thing.

Dr. Zimmerman earned his MD from the University of Maryland in College Park and completed his residency at Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon.

Read more on notable orthopedic leaders:

-Orthopedic and Spine Industry Leader to Know: Dr. Edward Benzel of the Cleveland Clinic

-Orthopedic and Spine Industry Leader to Know: Karen Hackett CEO of AAOS

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