5 spine surgeons on key practice investments


Five spine surgeons share the most successful professional investments they have made over the course of their careers.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.

Next week's question: What business aspect of spine care do you wish you had known more about before starting your career?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at avaidya@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, March 22, at 5 p.m. CST.


Question: What is the best professional investment you have ever made?


Vladimir Sinkov, MD. Spine Surgeon at New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (Nashua): Taking time off early in my career to learn and practice minimally invasive and motion preservation techniques in spine surgery.


Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: My staff has been by far the best professional investment. They are the front-facing visage of my brand and have been instrumental in growing the practice.  


Kern Singh, MD. Co-Director of Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (Chicago): The choice to hire a physician assistant has been a pivotal investment for me. Not only does this allow me to increase patient volume and efficiency in the clinic and the operating room, it also allows me to invest my time and attention in things outside of patient care. Whether that means pursuing technology creation or spending more time with my family, having a PA on my staff has enhanced the quality of my life without sacrificing the quality of my practice.


Richard Kube, MD. Founder and CEO of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute (Peoria, Ill.): In the world of realized investments, without a doubt it is our surgical facility. Not only has it been a reliable source of passive income, but it has also made time more efficient and improved my quality of life. It is truly an incredible thing to be able to bring a higher level of service to the patients, at an increased value and greater product control and have it be a cash positive part of the business. I recommend that anyone capable of doing a large number of procedures in the ambulatory setting do an internal analysis and if the numbers work, pull the trigger.

With respect to long-term investments, Twisted Sun Innovations, appears to be a great opportunity. I entered as an early angel investor and would be considered a founder.  Since investing, this company has developed working prototypes for a safe, scalable, portable method of Hydrogen storage with applications ranging from remote off-grid power to the traction industry to large-scale grid storage. It is really a unique solution with tremendous potential to change energy storage.


Plas T. James, MD. Spine Surgeon at Atlanta Spine Institute: I think the best investment I've made professionally is having a physician assistant. I can train them from the ground up. It's always good to have someone to help you out, someone that really knows your practice as well as you do. Kind of like Batman and Robin, it takes a while to get that chemistry together but once it's there, nothing is better for patient care and for the practice.



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