The most essential technology in spine and orthopedics post-pandemic — key concepts and big ideas


Three orthopedic and spine surgeons participated in a panel titled "ASCs, Orthopedics and Spine – The Next 5 Years" on June 18 as part of the Becker's Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC + the Future of Spine virtual event.

The surgeons addressed how their practices are recovering from the pandemic and their projections for the future. Here is an excerpt from the discussion about the technology that will be most essential for orthopedics and spine in the future.

Click here to view the full panel on-demand as well as access several other fireside chats, panels and workshops during the event. 

Bert Mandelbaum, MD. Co-Chair of Medical Affairs at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute and Co-Director of Sports Medicine in Department of Orthopedic Surgery (Los Angeles): The use of virtual medicine is going to be a tool as we confront the consumer. We had meetings talking about using virtual medicine on initial contact with patients. … When you couple virtual medicine with the use of robotics, including arthroplasty, and look at some of the other issues such as orthobiologics and new technology going forward, I think the real opportunity for us to evolve our field and improve outcomes as we go forward. The use of the ASC, the use of robots in ASCs, doing spinal surgery with microscopes and orthobiologics are really the next step in innovation going forward. I think it's an exciting future.

Kam Momi, MD. Founder and partner of CoastalSpine New Jersey (Mt. Laurel): The only thing I would add to the ASC, robotics and telehealth is data. We keep hearing about data and it's like oil: it's valuable, but not the way it comes out of the ground. You have to refine it, there are different products to come out of it; it is important for different people in different industries; and data is the same way. Raw data is not very useful, but we are learning how to sift through it and identify very important aspects of it for total joints and spine, and once we get that data in place, we will be able to make a difference on population health and predicting who needs surgery and also really be able to demonstrate outcomes as we've all talked about to challenge the insurance companies on their arbitrary, whimsical denials they often have.

Richard N.W. Wohns, MD, JD, MBA. Founder and President of NeoSpine (Puyallup, Wash.): My spin on the technology piece is that sometimes we have all the technology in the hospital and it's hard to get the same technology in the surgery center because of capital expenditures. That needs to change. We need partnership with industry to help promote use of $1 million robots, O-arms and other high cost technologies that are generally hospital based to be able to use in the surgery center. I use a robot in the hospital and I'm trying to get one for the surgery center, but to make it feasible, it's somewhat difficult. If we want to go the way we should be going, we need help from industry to make all the technology readily available in the outpatient surgery center. The payback will be there because the case will be able to migrate fully over if we have all the neuronavigation, robotics, orthobiologics that we need outpatient.

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