Where data analytics and precision medicine are taking spine surgery: Q&A with Dr. Michael Verdon

Written by Laura Dyrda | September 18, 2018 | Print  |

Michael Verdon, DO, is a physician within Premier Health's Clinical Neuroscience Institute in Englewood, Ohio.

Dr. Verdon is a featured speaker at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + The Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, June 13-15 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com.

Here, Dr. Verdon discusses the biggest trends in technology for value-based spine care.

Question: What technology are you most excited about for the future of orthopedics?

Dr. Michael Verdon: The use of data analytics and machine learning to increase diagnostic accuracy and define the patients-reported input (symptoms) to improve patient-reported outcomes. The whole concept of precision medicine requires maximum efficiency and effectiveness in defining pain generators at the lowest possible cost to the payer and a fast as possible for the patient.

Q: Is your practice moving toward value-based care? How does new technology fit in, whether you're taking cases to a hospital or outpatient surgery center?

MV: From a philosophical viewpoint, I'd like to think I'm trying to provide the best outcome for the patient at the lowest possible cost for the payer possible. This is what got me interested in predictive analytics and machine learning on the diagnostic side, in order to ensure anatomic pain generator identification before treatment planning. Currently, most clinically relevant data in the EMR world is in free form text and not compatible with machine-learning techniques. Some IT authorities see artificial intelligence as a panacea for this problem, but like each patient we see in the clinic the maximum "garbage in garbage out" still applies.

Due to advanced surgical and anesthesia techniques, we are at a point most one- to three-spinal segment procedures can be done in the outpatient setting. This is more market driven rather then medically or surgically necessary.

Q: How do you evaluate new technologies and techniques?

MV: One thing I remember from residency training was an attending, who was performing endoscopic surgery on the cerebellum and the cranial nerves, [and] told me that new procedures and technologies are useless if they were not passed on to others. If the technology and techniques aren't safer, faster or teachable to others then they will not grow and will die when the surgeon does. That physician passed away about four years later, at the age of 53, and the procedure has not gained widespread adoption.

To participate in future Q&As with Becker's Spine Review, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com.

More articles on spine surgery:
14 spine & neurosurgeons on the move in August
Spine technology adoption in a value-based practice—What's worth the investment? 3Qs with Dr. Jesse Even
5 trends in elective lumbar fusion surgeries

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