The forces changing orthopedics in 2019: Key thoughts from Dr. Nikhil Verma

Written by Laura Dyrda | December 27, 2018 | Print  |

Nikhil Verma, MD, director of the division of sports medicine and the sports medicine fellowship in the department of orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center and a partner at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, both in Chicago, discusses the big challenges and opportunities for orthopedic surgeons next year.

Question: What are the top two to three challenges orthopedic surgeons face heading into 2019?

Dr. Nikhil Verma: Challenges to orthopedic surgeons continue to exist primarily on the business side of medicine, including the continued uncertainty in the political environment with no clear path regarding regulatory changes or changes in reimbursement structure. This was highlighted by the recent finding of the Texas federal court that the ACA is unconstitutional in its current form.

On a more local level, continued market consolidation and evolving development of narrow network products continues to put pressure on small-to medium-size groups.

Finally, continued movement to value-based reimbursement models is limited by ill-defined quality metrics and data tracking.

Q: What technology are you most excited about in the future?

NV: I'm excited to see continued evolution of mobile-based patient tracking systems, which will allow us to monitor patient progress in real time. Examples would be phone-or watch-based modules to track recovery following total knee arthroplasty or total hip arthroplasty and identify outliers for early intervention.

Q: What is your best opportunity for growth?

NV: Best opportunities for growth continue to revolve around capturing verticals associated with orthopedic care. Orthopedics is unique in medicine in that patients are often seen for a confined episode of care and require a multidisciplinary approach including professional services, diagnostic imaging, physical and occupational therapy, surgical care and durable medical equipment.

The future value of most groups will be determined by their ability to deliver high-quality care to patients while capturing ancillary service lines. As a private group with a single-specialty focus, we are uniquely positioned to deliver high-quality services, with a high level of patient satisfaction and generally in a low-cost setting.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Laura Dyrda at

For a deeper dive into the future of orthopedics, attend the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC in Chicago, June 13-5, 2019. Click here to learn more and register.

More articles on orthopedic surgery:
Dr. David Fisher: 3 challenges for next year and best advice for orthopedic surgeons to build a successful practice
2 big challenges in shoulder surgery + the best opportunity for growth in 2019 from Dr. Grant Garrigues
Dr. James Nicholson: The key to orthopedic practice growth

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