Dr. Jason Huang: What big data could do for spine + the most interesting new technology

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Jason Huang, MD, is chair of the department of neurosurgery at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas.

He discusses how the spine field is changing and why surgeons losing focus is the biggest danger in spine care today.

Question: What emerging technology are you most interested in today and why?

Dr. Jason Huang: I am personally most interested in new and emerging technology to analyze big data in the field of spine – such as massive quantities of data from electronic medical records of spine patients within our aging and more diverse populations and the advanced analytics that could give it meaning. Such technology holds the prospect of becoming an engine for the medical knowledge generation that is necessary to address the significant unmet information needs of our patients, spine surgeons and other providers, hospital administrators, as well as health policy legislators.

In our growing field of spine, such big data analytical method would improve classification of spine diseases, reveal ways to evaluate the influence of particular spine technology or surgeons on practice patterns, or predict a spine patient’s clinical outcomes.

Q: How do you think your practice will change in the next three years? What are you doing today to prepare?

JH: I am chair of an academic neurosurgery department in a major healthcare system. We have 12 faculty members as well as an ACGME-accredited neurosurgery residency training program. I expect that my department will continue to grow to serve the growing medical needs of our aging and diverse population in central Texas. For us in the next three years, there are two main growth areas in neurosurgery: spine and stroke/cerebrovascular. As a result, we are recruiting faculty members to meet this growing demand. We are also putting in a lot of efforts to train our next generations of young neurosurgeons, our neurosurgery residents. We want to train them to become compassionate and highly skilled doctors. They are the future of medicine.

Q: What is the most dangerous trend in healthcare, spine or orthopedics today and why?

JH: There are so many things going on in healthcare — the opioid crisis, increasing economic pressures on doctors, hospital closures, countless new emerging technologies, acquisition and merger of major medical device companies, health policy reforms, etc. It is easy to get loss in this environment or lose our focus entirely. As physicians, the most dangerous trend is to lose focus on our single most important goal: making our patients healthier and better and serving our patients. The lack of focus on patients, but too much emphasis on technology or profits, in my opinion, is the most dangerous trend in medicine.

To contribute to future Becker's thought leadership articles, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com

More articles on spine surgery:
Dr. Robert Brady: Robotics in spinal fusion and how the trend will develop in spine
Dr. Stephen Hochschuler: Future trends in spine – telemedicine, robotics, AI & more
Dr. Jonathan Carmouche: Key thoughts on robotics and value-based care in spine

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