'Work smarter, not harder': What 7 orthopedic surgeons are prioritizing for 2024


Every year brings several changes in the healthcare industry, and 2024 is shaping up to be no exception. Heading into the new year, orthopedic surgeons expect to face ongoing payer challenges, residual COVID-19 struggles and new opportunities for growth and expansion. 

Seven orthopedic surgeons spoke with Becker's about what they are prioritizing for the upcoming year.

Question: What is your top priority for 2024? 

Adam Bruggeman, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Texas Spine Care Center (San Antonio): My top priority is working toward a permanent fix to the Medicare physician payment system.  We have gained significant momentum and awareness on the topic in Washington, D.C., and recently had the chair of the Senate Finance Committee state that their committee would need to address the issue next year. Meaningful reform with a tie to the actual cost of providing care is needed to ensure access for patients and the long term viability of physician practice.

Dan Chen, MD. Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Scranton, Pa.): 2024 will be a year of growth for hospitals and physicians alike as we return to normalcy after the COVID pandemic, and as the aging U.S. population begins seeking increased elective procedures to treat their ailments. My top priority continues to be the best minimally invasive spine surgeon and physician that I can be for my patients, and to provide them with individualized care to maximize their return to function. Product innovation, coupled with integrating the evolving body of knowledge, will be critical to providing the best spinal treatments. Along these lines, I think the spinal implants industry will continue to advance and innovate in 2024, and I'm looking forward to what new technology is available to my patients. 

Earl Kilbride, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Austin (Texas) Orthopedic Institute: My top priority for 2024 is to work smarter, not harder. Being 22 years post residency, I feel as though I have optimized the clinical workflow side of practicing orthopedics. The administrative is another story. We can all document better, empower our team and streamline that side of the practice.

James Chappuis, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Spine Center Atlanta: My top priority for 2024 is community building. Creating new bonds around Atlanta and our satellite locations fortifies my purpose to help others get back to the life they want to live without pain. I look forward to expanding our practice in areas where pain is a living constant due to the lack of resources and providing an alternative solution to solve the problem instead of placating it. 

Joe O'Brien, MD. Medical Director of Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Spine Surgery at VHC Health (Bethesda, Md.): Our top priority for 2024 is to grow our ASC with another room. 

Justin Bundy, MD. Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Augusta-Aiken (S.C.) Orthopedic Specialists: My top priority for 2024 is to advance outpatient spine with new technology and patient-appropriate care.

Peter Passias, MD. Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at NYU Langone Health (New York City): Top priorities are expanding AI applications in spine surgery not just in the OR but in terms of patient selection, risk stratification and predicting outcomes. Also diminishing invasiveness options are expanding with advanced technologies, and traditional surgery is becoming minimized.

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