Scott Boden, MD, director of Atlanta-based Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and chair of the department of orthopedic surgery at Emory University School of Medicine spent years on the forefront of spine care and innovation.
Now he also serves as the CMO and chief quality officer of Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine and vice president for business innovation of Emory Healthcare. Here, he discusses the state of the spine field and how the big trends in health IT and price transparency will affect the field.
Question: Do you think the future is bright or dark for spine surgery? What are the biggest factors driving decision-making about your practice?
Dr. Scott Boden: I think the future of spine surgery is bright. The right operation in the right patient can restore function in very measurable ways. While there is a continued focus on minimally invasive approaches, the choice of operation and patient diagnosis will always be paramount to success. My hope is that artificial intelligence and new diagnostics will help stratify patients more clearly into treatment groups.
Q: What do you think about technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon moving into the healthcare space? Is this a positive or negative trend for spine and healthcare overall?
SB: I think it depends on what these tech companies are adding to the equation to increase quality or decrease cost. That is what we need in healthcare right now and if tech companies can help in those two areas, I'm all for it. We are looking at strategic partnerships in the tech space to improve value.
Q: How do you feel about the move toward increased price transparency? Will this have an impact on spine?
SB: In principle, this is a trend that has appeared in most other industries. Unfortunately purchasing healthcare services is far more complicated than online shopping, so achieving meaningful transparency is more difficult. The other problem with transparency is that there are not reliable measures of quality, appropriate operative indications, so I am a bit concerned if healthcare choices are solely driven by price.
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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.