Threats and Opportunities on the Horizon in Spine


At the 20th Annual Spine, Orthopedic + Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, attendees had the opportunity to hear a keynote lecture on the current threats and opportunities on the horizon in spine. 

This lecture was led by an esteemed panel of experts in the field, including:

  • Frank Phillips, MD, Director, Spine Surgery; Professor, Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center
  • Ernest Braxton, MD, MBA, Neurosurgeon, Vail Summit Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery
  • Gregory Fournier, MPH, Business Manager, Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Carlos A. Bagley, MD, Vice Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery, Director, UT Southwestern Spine Center

The keynote was moderated by Laura Dyrda, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Becker's Healthcare.

Key Takeaways:

  • Preauthorization and approval for rendering care, labor issues, and the residency pipeline are increasing threats in the spine industry.

Dr. Bagley highlighted the challenges that these threats pose and emphasized the importance of working around them.

  • Physicians and surgeons are facing cost cutting and cost control from insurance companies, as well as decreasing reimbursement for services.

Insurance companies' consolidation of practices is becoming more common to increase negotiating power with payers and access to ancillary services.

  • Partnerships and collaborations are essential to leveraging resources and advocating for policies that optimize the microenvironment for clinicians in the spine industry.

Dr. Brexton, Dr. Bigley, and Dr. Phillips all agreed on the importance of working together and staying engaged in advocacy efforts.

  • New technologies such as augmented reality, biologics, and data analytics are on the horizon in the spine industry.

The panelists also discussed the potential role of wearable technology in the future.

  • Value equation and outcomes data are important considerations in providing quality care.

The panel emphasized the importance of looking at how new technologies are impacting the field and the relationship between hospitals and outpatient facilities.

  • Strong patient relationships and patient engagement are crucial for above and beyond care, and technology can be used to enhance these efforts.

The panel also discussed how facility fees could offset decreased reimbursement in professional fees.

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