5 Spine Specialists on Differentiating Spine Practices

Written by Laura Dyrda | February 22, 2012 | Print  |
Five spine specialists discuss how they differentiate their spine practices. Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question is: What is the most important thing you do to ensure patient satisfaction?

Please send responses to Laura Miller at laura@beckershealthcare.com by Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5pm CST.

How do you differentiate your practice?

Ara Deukmedjian, MD, Founder, Deuk Spine Institute, Melbourne, Fla.: Deuk Spine Institute strives to distinguish itself from other spine practices by offering patients state-of-the-art spine care in a patient centered environment. We offer minimally invasive and non-surgical treatments for most spine disorders. Patients requiring surgery can chose between new endoscopic laser spine surgery or more conventional procedures including fusion and non-fusion technology. Our approach to treating spinal conditions utilizes multispecialty, multimodality pathways with an emphasis on the least invasive approach for a cure of pain. We invest heavily in support staff to help educate and navigate patients through their treatment protocol. Most of our new patient visits are by word of mouth.

Michael Gleiber, MD, Founder, Michael A. Gleiber, MD, PA, Jupiter, Fla.: My practice is more of a concierge type of spine practice. I am a solo practitioner and have a high volume practice but make sure to not over schedule so my patients will not have to wait for an hour to see me. I also have my forms online, and we encourage patients to fill these out ahead of time to increase the efficiency of their visit. Lastly, I make myself available to patients and physicians alike directly and will return each message by the end of the day.

Sumeer Sathi, MD, Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, East Patchogue, N.Y.:
We have very high quality onsite pain management. Therefore, we try to offer a multidisciplinary approach to the patient's problem. Our pain management services include acupuncture, interventional pain management and therapy. Since we are able to speak with the pain management physicians directly, there is better communication between the specialists about each patient's care. Our patients are highly satisfied with their experience.

We are almost like a concierge service as surgeons. Our practice includes two surgeons and we don't participate in insurances — we haven't for almost 16 years. Because of the reimbursement in New York, if you participate in insurances you’ll see more patients and have less time with each patient. If you don't participate in insurances, you can have a significantly better relationship with each patient because there are fewer to see.

When we do surgeries, we aren’t a surgery mill. We take our time with each procedure and spend time with the families so they don’t feel rushed or ignored. They can reach us any time during the day. Those things distinguish our practice from others in the area.

Joanne Wu, MD, Physician, Unity Spine Center, Rochester, N.Y.: What differentiates us from spine programs in the area is the unique nurse navigation program. We are able to obtain a patient given history for review. Our physicians review each patient and determine the urgency to be seen and where the patient will start in the program. Nurse navigation is the key to making this successful. The nurses are able to communicate with all the collaborators and the patient to help them navigate through a sometimes difficult system. They also are able to check in with the patient and if something isn't working, they can redirect patient to the appropriate provider.

Saad Khairi, MD, Neurosurgeon, Goodman Campbell Brian and Spine at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis:
We offer subspecialty training for the neurosurgeons of tomorrow. We also offer outstanding responsiveness to our patients and referring physicians. In addition, we pay meticulous attention to detail in our operative and perioperative care.

Related Articles on Spine Surgery:
Dr. Stephen Hochschuler: 8 Changes to Ensure a Brighter Future for Spine Surgery

Dr. Frank Cammisa: 8 Top Challenges for Spine Surgeons This Year

5 Trends Impacting Outpatient Spine in 2012: Thoughts From Dr. Thomas Schuler

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