Best investment advice for young spine surgeons: 2 key thoughts from Dr. Richard Wohns

Practice Management

Richard Wohns, MD, was one of the first surgeons to perform spine surgery in an ASC, and now he has logged more than 3,000 outpatient cervical and lumbar procedures. He is the founder of Puyallup, Wash.-based NeoSpine and past president of the Washington State Association of Neurological Surgeons and past-president of the Western Neurological Society.

In 2001, Dr. Wohns founded a company to develop a national network of outpatient spine surgery centers, which was acquired in 2008. He also co-founded a company that developed and managed gamma knife and cyberknife radiosurgery centers across the country, which was acquired in 2011. Here, Dr. Wohns discusses his best investment advice and how young surgeons can grow and develop their practices.


Dr. Wohns will be speaking at the Becker's 16th Annual Future of Spine + The Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference. To learn more and register, click here.


Q: What are your top two pieces of advice for a young spine surgeon looking to begin investing in new projects and ventures?


Dr. Richard Wohns: Diversify, diversify, diversify! Invest in what you know, but as a young spine surgeon don’t invest solely in medical device companies that you know, or medical IT, medical services, real estate, etc. Create a diversified portfolio with conservative assets and some higher-risk investments. Invest in yourself and your practice, in addition. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket.

Q: What is the easiest mistake for surgeons to make when investing and how can they avoid it?


RW: The easiest mistake for surgeons to make when investing is to invest in something that is too good to be true. It is unfortunately too common for a business proposal to be presented to young surgeons who have some cash, possibly for the first time, and who want to hit it big with an investment, but the investment is not grounded in reality. The second easiest mistake is to over-invest in a practice-based opportunity such as real estate, a building, a surgery center, etc., but the return on investment is unrealistic. My advice is summarized as follows: "Be conservative, take some calculated risks, and do your due diligence!"


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