3 big difference-makers for spine surgeons in the future — Payers, populations and more from Dr. A. Nick Shamie


A. Nick Shamie, MD, is chief of orthopedic spine surgery and a professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at UCLA School of Medicine.

Throughout his career, Dr. Shamie has been active in physician education as well as scientific and clinical research projects focused on spinal disorders. Here, he discusses the big trends making an impact on the spine field today.

Question: What are the three biggest business or healthcare trends you expect to affect your practice in 2019?

Dr. A. Nick Shamie: Firstly, we have a growing population of our baby boomers reaching the age that will demand more healthcare across the board. This will result in lower reimbursement for each healthcare sector. In spine surgery, it will be more important to show good results in order to maintain coverage for various procedures. Only the highly successful surgeries will continue to be reimbursed.

Secondly, with the advent of new technologies and surgical protocols over the last few decades, we have the opportunity to treat patients in an outpatient setting more regularly than ever before. This trend will continue which will in turn lower the cost of spine care. We have to make sure to use the new technologies responsibly and only when we have shown superiority to more traditional methods.

Thirdly, with the granularity of the outcomes data available to payers and patients alike, individual surgeons will be evaluated by all stakeholders based on available data. So making sure that you provide individualized and effective care for every spine patient will be an important factor for any successful surgeon.

Q: Where do you see the best opportunities to grow?

NS: Continuing to work together with colleagues in multiple disciplines will allow us to care for our patients in a more comprehensive and efficient manner; this includes various medical specialist and healthcare extenders. Working together also with policy makers will allow us to tackle the dichotomy of expanding need and decreasing resources.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com

For a deeper dive into the future of spine, attend the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC in Chicago, June 13-5, 2019. Click here to learn more and register.

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