Dr. Alexander Vaccaro: 2 big concerns and the best opportunity for spine surgeons in the future

Written by Laura Dyrda | October 02, 2017 | Print  |

As president of Philadelphia-based Rothman Institute, Alexander Vaccaro, MD, is responsible for a network of practices including around 200 physicians and surgeons providing orthopedic and spine care. He also serves as the Richard H. Rothman Professor and chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery at Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and co-director of the spine fellowship program.

Here, Dr. Vaccaro outlines his top two concerns for his practice in the coming year and the biggest opportunity for spine surgeons in the future.


Question: What are the top two concerns you have for your practice today?

Dr. Alexander Vaccaro:


1. Maintaining high quality care despite payer-side issues. We continue to face roadblocks with insurance companies declining evidenced based procedures for patients. The time and resources dedicated to merely carrying out patient care through peer-to-peer calls and pre-authorization is unsustainable and burdensome. In addition, practices have been required to invest significant time and money into preparing for MACRA, despite the uncertainty of how healthcare legislation will eventually play out.

2. Public misinformation about the role of spine surgery. Our practice faces an onslaught of misinformation from the internet and media (including social media) about the efficacy and utility of various nonsurgical treatments and surgical procedures. As our patients become savvier with technology and increasingly research their condition, physicians must become aware of these resources patients use for information and prepared to answer questions on the topics.

Q: What is the biggest opportunity for spine surgeons in the field? How is spine evolving?

AV: Technology continues to be an evolving and exciting part of spine surgery. We believe the use of robotics and navigated technologies providing advanced visualization and intraoperative assistance can improve efficiency and outcomes while reducing complications. The big hurdle we face is integrating this into our workflow; until we become acclimated and familiar with the technology, we can't improve our efficiency.


More articles on spine surgery:
14 spine surgeons & neurosurgeons on the move in September 2017
4 spine surgeons on biggest challenges to running their business
5 trends in cervical spine surgery—still 90%+ fusion after a burst of motion-sparing techniques

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