Dr. Andrew Schoenfeld: How key trends in healthcare policy intersect with spine

Written by Laura Dyrda | October 22, 2018 | Print  |

Andrew J. Schoenfeld, MD, associate professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both based in Boston, as well as deputy editor of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, discusses the biggest trends in spine today and where the field is headed.

Dr. Schoenfeld 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.

Dr. Schoenfeld was recently named to the inaugural "20 Under 40" list by the North American Spine Society's publication, SpineLine.

Question: What are the biggest concerns for your practice today? What keeps you up at night?

Dr. Andrew Schoenfeld: In my practice as a clinician scientist, I have concerns that span both patient care and the research realm. Some of these involve the ways in which healthcare reform efforts may impact patient access to certain types of spine surgical interventions or the way external pressures might alter the delivery of care in the context of spinal disorders. For example, how does the implementation of ACOs alter the availability of spine surgical care, affect the types of interventions offered or restrict access to spinal healthcare? This also happens to be one of the particular areas of interest for my research.

Q: What are you most excited about in terms of technology advancement in the spine space? Where do you see the best opportunity for growth?

AS: I find minimally invasive surgical interventions to be one of the more exciting technological advancements and an area with the best opportunity for expansion. I think the potential for minimally invasive procedures to reduce postoperative morbidity and improve recovery from surgery is one of the most attractive features of these interventions, and this also has the capacity to reduce systemic healthcare costs as well as individual expenses. How minimally invasive interventions can be leveraged to the benefit of the healthcare system as a whole remains to be seen, but clearly this represents an important area of exploration in the future.

Q: Where do you see your practice growing or evolving in the next five years? What is the next step or evolution in your career?

AS: I am presently an associate professor and clinician scientist in the department of orthopedic surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In this capacity, over the next five years, I am hoping to broaden the scope of my present research including surgical decision-making for patients with spinal metastases and the intersection of health reform with spinal healthcare.

I presently have a K-23 National Institutes of Health grant and hope to obtain an R-01 over the next few years supporting a prospective multicenter investigation regarding optimizing treatment strategies for patients with spinal metastases. In line with my immediate career goals of increasing leadership and mentorship opportunities, I am also hoping to transition over the next five years into a vice chair of research position within a department of orthopedic surgery, a chief academic officer position or an associate dean posting.

Learn more about the big trends in spine at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago, June 13-15, 2019. Click here

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

More articles on spine surgery:
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Dr. Kris Radcliff: The biggest concerns for value-based spine care
What are spine surgeons most excited about? Dr. Christopher Summa answers 3 Qs

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