• 'The numbers don't lie': Endoscopy to become more prominent among next generation of spine surgeons
  • Minnesota orthopedic group hit with $111M negligence verdict
  • Orthopedic patient's death highlights potential dangers of prior authorization
  • Spine surgeon killed in Oklahoma hospital shooting
  • Neurosurgeon accepted $3.3M in illegal payments to perform spine surgeries at hospital
  • Spine surgeon gets jail time for abusing patient during hospital visit
  • Providence to pay $22.7M to settle unnecessary spine surgery allegations
  • Texas spine surgeon defending himself from 'Dr. Death 2.0' allegations
  • 'They're on really thin ice': Why 1 insurer has drawn spine surgeons' ire
  • Orthopedic surgeon must face suit in patient's death
  • Spine surgeon 1 of 9 physician billionaires on Forbes' 2022 list
  • Connecticut hospital to appeal $12.5M verdict to family of patient who died after orthopedic surgery
  • 4 spine technologies that promised more than they delivered
  • Orthopedic surgeon's health system exit steeped in controversy
  • Terminated orthopedic surgeon contracts with another New York hospital
  • Texas spine surgeon sued by State Farm over 'unnecessary' procedures
  • 22 hospitals ranked top 25 orthopedic hospitals 3+ years in a row
  • Orthopedic surgeon convicted of battery at hospital
  • UArizona neurosurgery chair dies after motorcycle collision
  • America's largest independent practices by number of spine surgeons
  • Could Medtronic's spine business be the next medtech spinoff?
  • 41 'rising stars' in orthopedics
  • Idaho orthopedic surgeon arrested for alleged misconduct at practice
  • Neurosurgeon's startup hits $1.2B valuation
  • Orthopedic surgeon indicted in $10M telemedicine fraud scheme
  • Orthopedic surgeon salaries in the 5 best, worst states for healthcare
  • New Jersey hospital must pay neurosurgeons $24.3M, appeals court rules
  • Good news, bad news for orthopedic surgeons: 6 observations
  • Why private equity is bettering orthopedics, 3 physician leaders say
  • Florida hospital patients say they were injured during surgeries. Now a physician faces 350 lawsuits.
  • Texas spine surgeon's $11M verdict being appealed
  • A Rutgers physician accused of 'ghost surgeries' will return — but with fewer responsibilities
  • Top orthopedic hospital in every state: US News
  • Rothman Orthopaedics to become national brand, but no 'aspirations to go beyond US'
  • Sports medicine physician fired amid misconduct allegations involving patients
  • Orthopedic surgeon asking for misconduct charges to be dropped
  • Unnecessary spine cases spur class action lawsuit
  • Colorado Supreme Court rejects hospital's bid to enforce $229K spine surgery bill
  • Jury finds neurosurgeon largely responsible for paralysis, awards $15.5M in damages
  • Dr. Jon Yoon performs NHL's 4th disc replacement in 7 months
  • Walmart, Amazon & more: 2 orthopedic surgeons on outside forces in healthcare

    Walmart, Amazon & more: 2 orthopedic surgeons on outside forces in healthcare

    Carly Behm -  

    Amazon, Walmart and Walgreens have all taken steps into healthcare, but their lasting impact remains to be seen. Two orthopedic surgeons told Becker's how they feel about the companies' hand in healthcare.

    Ask Orthopedic 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: How can value-based care become more effective in orthopedics?

    Please send responses to Carly Behm at cbehm@beckershealthcare.com by 5 p.m. CDT Tuesday, Sept. 28.

    Question: How will outside forces such as Amazon and Walmart affect healthcare in the U.S?

    Note: Responses were edited for style.

    David Jacofsky, MD. The CORE Institute (Phoenix): Amazon and Walmart will certainly be forces within the healthcare environment in the future. However, the role they play in healthcare will be in areas where they can truly be the disrupter, and they may learn through a series of controlled failures.

    Amazon and its two healthcare reform partners, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced in 2018 that they were uniting to form Haven Health. This sent ripples through the healthcare world, but ultimately, the effort was abandoned. The failure was not surprising to everyone, because their joint effort only drove some evolutionary change to the current healthcare system, and it did not meaningfully disrupt it in any way. That is, they primarily simply looked for strategies to negotiate deeper discounts from providers, lower the cost of pharmacy and provide more telehealth options. Haven Health seemingly did not fully appreciate the complexities of healthcare, as it is a unique environment where the perceived consumer, namely the patient, is not generally responsible for the bulk of the costs of care even though they are often the decision maker.

    Additionally, physicians drive much of the value in healthcare, or lack thereof, and unless a model incentivizes them for value, it is hard to move the needle. Likewise, incentives of payers, patients, hospitals and providers may be maligned in many of these models, which makes traction difficult. Therefore, the traditional Amazon model of providing data to end consumers to make cost-effective decisions might not make total sense in healthcare. This is further complicated by the fact that there does not generally exist national datasets with standardized definitions and attribution models, such that value is clear to a patient or employer and such that data science can be applied to the datasets in traditional ways.

    Walmart has taken a different approach and has leveraged their legacy in bricks and mortar. Walmart has been especially aggressive in healthcare since launching Walmart Health, an in-store clinic in a rural Georgia store opened in 2019, and expanding the program to 15 locations at the end of last year with ongoing expansion. These stores offer primary care, labs, radiographs, EKG, counseling, dental, optical, hearing, nutritional services and health insurance education and enrollment. In addition to bricks and mortar, Walmart recently announced that it would be acquiring telehealth provider MeMD.

    Walmart and Amazon are not alone in this quest. Dollar General, Walgreens,and CVS have similar goals. Many large companies are making huge investments into data acquisition related to healthcare. Again, there are many issues and unique challenges associated with data integrity, disparate data sources, data accuracy, data definitions and privacy rules that are created in healthcare compared to other retail industry data and analytics. Nonetheless, these companies have deep data science resources to leverage and over time are likely to better understand how to build improved predictive models and analytics for accurately defining value from improved data sources.

    Without a doubt, our healthcare system is ripe for and in need of, innovation and disruption. These large players have access to nearly unlimited capital, established brands and market reach and unmatched retail industry expertise which will in some way certainly make them a formidable force in the healthcare industry in the future. Exactly how and where may remain a question, but disruption by these large players is inevitable. The winners and losers in that game remain the outstanding question.

    Robert Peinert, Jr., MD. An orthopedic surgeon in Harlingen, Texas: Amazon and Walmart have no business in healthcare. They will reduce it to a cookbook assessment of disease and will provide care at the lowest common denominator, mainly via nurse clinicians. Complex, innovative care and major scientific breakthroughs do not fit in or belong in systems such as that which governs Amazon and Walmart. The areas where these marketing systems might help would be in healthcare access and purchasing and the areas of medical logistics.

    Copyright © 2022 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.

    Featured Webinars

    Featured Podcast

    Featured Whitepapers