Dr. Gerald Rodts' rising elderly patient population and the program he is most proud of in his practice

Written by Alan Condon | August 29, 2019 | Print  |

Gerald Rodts, MD, is a professor of orthopedics and neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and chief of the division of spine surgery at the university.

Here, Dr. Rodts provides discusses his rising elderly population, the initiative he is most proud of in his practice what lies ahead for outpatient spine surgery.

Question: How has your patient population changed over the past five years? How do you expect it to evolve in the future?

Dr. Gerald Rodts: The number of elderly (Medicare age) patients continues to rise in my practice over the past five years. Not only is that segment of the population growing nationwide, but the number of neurosurgery colleagues in Atlanta who no longer accept Medicare is increasing.

Q: What is one program your practice has implemented that you're particularly proud of, and why?

GR: We have implemented a physician assistant clinic where Medicare patients can be seen rapidly by an experienced spine physician assistant — supervised by an attending neurosurgeon — to help expedite their care and referral in a more timely fashion. Because of the increasing number of Medicare patients in our practice, their wait times have been getting longer. This solution has been working effectively.

Q: What technology do you see having the biggest impact on spine patient care?

GR: I think biological solutions for disc regeneration, bone fusion and treatment of osteoporosis are among the most important technologies for the future of spine care. 

Q: How do you see outpatient spine procedures developing in the future?

GR: I think the current trend of doing simple cervical and lumbar surgeries in younger, healthy patients in the outpatient setting will continue to grow. However, I do not see this trend applying to older patients or patients with significant medical comorbidities.

More articles on Q+As:
Robotic-assisted spinal fusion and emerging trends in outpatient spine surgeries: Q&A with Dr. Richard Chua
Changes in spine care Dr. Dalip Pelinkovic wants to see and future trends in the field
The effect of baby boomers on the evolving patient population in spine: Q+A with Dr. Camden Burns



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