Shift to ASCs is the biggest opportunity to cut costs: What we heard from surgeons this week

Spine

From the growing importance of cybersecurity for physician practices to the biggest opportunity to reduce the cost of care, here are four surgeon quotes that caught the attention of Becker's readers this week:

1. "Cybercrime has become a foremost issue for medicine, and, in the wake of COVID-19, it is an ever-expanding threat to our society," — Robert Bray Jr., MD, of DISC Sports & Spine Center in Newport Beach, Calif., on the rising importance of practice cybersecurity.

"We have recently been attacked twice, but both attacks were caught quickly, and rapid identification and lockout prevented any significant damage," Dr. Bray said. "While we were unable to trace the origins of what appeared to be a password-stealing scheme attempting to gain access to our main network, we sat down with our IT company and did a complete review of our structure to strengthen security."

2. "We will continue to see exponential growth in orthopedic procedures shifting to the ASC setting and away from traditional hospital settings," — Davis Hurley, MD, of Denver-based Orthopedic Centers of Colorado, on the acceleration of outpatient migration.

"We know that shifting cases to ASCs remains the single biggest opportunity to reduce the total cost of care and realize the quadruple aim of quality outcomes, a better experience for patients and providers, all at a lower total cost of care," Dr. Hurley said. "For context, Orthopedic Centers of Colorado has performed 67 percent of our cases in ASCs so far this year. Our partner, Surgical Care Affiliates, has experienced significant growth in spine and total joints in its ASCs, including a 29 percent growth in total joints in the first four months of 2021 alone. "

3. "Over the next 10 years, the use of orthobiologics in orthopedics will grow rapidly," — Don Buford, MD, of Dallas-based Texas Orthobiologics Institute, on the growing presence of regenerative medicine in the field.

"As mounting clinical research shows that these procedures are safe and cost effective for many orthopedic conditions, doctors will increase the use of these injections instead of medications, steroids or even some surgical procedures," Dr. Buford said. "Well-informed patients with orthopedic conditions such as arthritis, back pain or sports injuries have already started requesting treatments such as platelet-rich plasma injections instead of steroids, viscosupplementation (a fluid-injection treatment for arthritis) or medications."

4. "I wanted to find a balance between finding enough cases, in particular intracranial cases, and the type of environment we were looking for to raise our family," — Joshua Prickett, DO, of Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Centers, on why he decided to practice in South Carolina.

"I am from a small town outside of Houston, and my wife is from Danville, Va. I had prior experience in rural central Florida and then as an osteopathic medical student my clinical training was at a moderate size community hospital in South Alabama. I wanted to find a hospital where there is strong interaction and collaboration among the medical staff and that you are not simply a 'cog in the wheel.'"

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