4 total joint replacement surgeons on leadership

Written by Anuja Vaidya | July 14, 2017 | Print  |

Four total joint replacement surgeons weigh in on the essential qualities for leadership.

Ask TJR surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to orthopedic surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting orthopedic care. We invite all orthopedic surgeon and specialist responses.


Next week's question: What activities help you de-stress professionally?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at avaidya@beckershealthcare.com by Thursday, July 20, at 5 p.m. CST.


Question: What are some key qualities of a TJR physician leader?


Jeffrey C. Davis, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center (Birmingham, Ala.): Leadership in any profession can become reality by position, personality or accomplishments. Specifically, a TJR physician leader should be someone that pursues excellence, knowledge and advances the field of joint replacement surgery. Thought leaders should be looking not only for present problem solutions but also looking to improve the surgical techniques, patient care and technology going forward. Key qualities in leaders should include humility, gratitude for others, kindness and willingness to serve.


G. Daxton Steele, MD. Total Joint Replacement Surgeon at Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine (Gulf Breeze, Fla.): They need to be aware of changes in our industry on multiple levels, both on the surgical side and then on the financial side, which often do not go hand in hand. So it's important to understand the technology, the techniques and some of the patient-related factors, but it's also important to be aware of the impact the financial piece of total joint surgery has. You need to have an interest in both of these arenas in order to be a leader, and help develop and coach other surgeons on how to optimize these two areas.  


Michael J. Chmell, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at OrthoIllinois (Rockford): Consistency is an important characteristic in terms of patient care as well as our expectations of ourselves and others, both colleagues and staff. That said, in today's rapidly changing TJR environment, a leader must be creative and able to adapt to such changes appropriately applying them to his/her practice.


Henry Finn, MD. Medical Director of the Chicago Center for Orthopedics at Weiss Memorial Hospital: One important quality of a total joint replacement physician leader is they see things that other people don't see. This quality can play out in clinical practice simply by valuing and including other healthcare professionals that contribute significantly to patient care. They create teams that work together in a common end-point: improved patient satisfaction and excellent patient outcomes. They avoid working in a silo. Instead, they work with their multidisciplinary team, developing better and more efficient ways to perform joint replacement and deliver healthcare that benefits the patient. They accomplish this informally and/or formally through weekly or monthly conferencing with team members. Despite mounting financial pressures physicians face, a leader always does the right thing for the patient.

Another unique quality of a leader is they don't forget history. Over the years, numerous implants have been developed that were supposed to make life better for patients, but instead, they resulted in problems because physicians didn't take certain research into consideration. But there have been other implants, such as the rotating-hinged knee implant, that have been successful for patients with certain problematic knees. A close look at failed attempts at the hinged-knee implant made the difference in perfecting it to include a rotating component, and at a time when it was predicted more patients would benefit from the implant.


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