Growth opportunities in spine care for 2019

Anuja Vaidya -   Print  |

Three spine surgeons look ahead to growth opportunities in the coming year.

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: How are you addressing higher deductibles at your practice?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at by Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 5 p.m. CST.

Question: What is the best growth opportunity for spine surgeons in 2019?

Christian Zimmerman, MD. Spinal Neurosurgeon at Saint Alphonsus Medical Group and SAHS Neuroscience Institute (Boise, Idaho): Depending on one's goals and outlook for an objective success in 2019, the directives for individual outcomes will follow different paths. If boosting case volume is a priority, this may hit the head-winds of insurance decelerations as re-approvals and limited surgical availability tighten the scheduling of caseloads.

Outreach to the medical and local communities through better marketing practices and outcome data sharing facilitates enhanced practice understanding for third-party payers, both current and prospective. Relationships are the present and future.

The practice of complex spinal disorders flourishes with an aging populace as well as like provider exclusions and transfer of certain higher acuity patients to larger medical centers. Maintaining one's standard of conservative and affable approaches to collegial medicine is obviously paramount.

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: I believe endoscopic spine will find a true niche in outpatient surgery. I think all spine surgeons will find opportunities in outpatient spine surgery. There are still tremendously effective ways to help patients without bringing them into the hospital for an extended stay, without exposure to higher risk patients and potential complications.

The fate of spine surgery will rest with the legislators to a degree, and I think all spine surgeons should be involved with their respective political action committees to protect our patients and our practices. So we will, in effect, be partly responsible for what happens either way in 2019 and beyond. We should all understand that if we don't like what is happening in spine surgery, the only people who could affect any sort of improvement are us.

Issada Thongtrangan, MD. Orthopedic Spine and Neurosurgeon at Minimally Invasive Spine (Phoenix): We plan to grow our practice through continued direct-to-consumer marketing and patients' education. Healthcare is becoming an increasingly consumer-driven industry. Patients have access to healthcare information everywhere, are more educated about their healthcare choices and they have higher expectations and want to be active as long as they possibly can.

On the clinical aspect, I see my practice growing to include more outpatient-based surgery using the least invasive techniques such as endoscopic-assisted surgery, non-fusion technologies, navigation-based technologies and advanced surface technologies.

More articles on spine:
The HSS Spine Care Model – Part 2
Preoperative opioid use leads to greater dissatisfaction, complications after spine surgery: 3 study insights
Why this surgeon chose spine surgery




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