Becker's Spine Review caught up with Kern Singh, MD, orthopedic surgery professor at Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center and co-director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, to find out what he sees as a challenge that still lies ahead for the spine industry this year.
Dr. Singh discusses the impact value-based healthcare will have on implant manufacturers.
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Question: What do you see as the greatest challenge for the spine industry in the latter half of 2018?
Dr. Kern Singh: As we continue to evolve into a performance/quality-based healthcare model with bundled payments, implant manufacturers will be forced, due to surgeon pressure, to provide a streamlined and cost-effective implant inventory. Transitioning from pricing per each screw, plate and cage will need to evolve to a fixed cost for a single level procedure (e.g. ACDF or TLIF). Physicians are becoming more cognizant of the pricing of implants as they are participating in the bundle and as such, costly implants may place them at risk for having a negative return on their participation. Manufacturers will need to optimize margins either to "rep-less" models, or lower cost alternative implants, in order to be involved with those surgeons who are maximizing their value in a bundled-based payment system.