Dr. Scott Boden: Telemedicine can achieve spine success if 'reimbursement barriers are reduced'

Alan Condon -   Print  |

Scott Boden, MD, is a spine surgeon and chair of the department of orthopedics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Here, Dr. Boden discusses telemedicine in spine and how he sees the technology developing in the field.

Question: How do you see as the biggest opportunities for telemedicine in spine?

Dr. Scott Boden: Two big opportunities are improving triage of spine patients before they come in person for a consultation and eliminating routine follow-up visits when X-rays and physical examination are not essential.

Q: Can telemedicine achieve similar success to that of other specialties?

SB: I think it can, but only when some of the technology and reimbursement barriers are reduced.

Q: Have you or do you plan to adapt a telemedicine initiative in your practice? If, so what does it look like?

SB: We are continuing to develop such a plan at The Emory Spine Center in Atlanta. We are focusing on better triage prior to the first visit to ensure the optimal provider is matched to the patient as well as some routine follow-up visits.

Q: What do you see as the next big trend in spine care?

SB: I think that big data and artificial intelligence can help better predict patient specific procedure types, outcomes, need for specific types of care settings — outpatient versus inpatient — enhanced or routine rehabilitation and using wearables to determine when patients are falling off the acceptable postoperative recovery curve.

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