How spine surgeons maintain high productivity levels

Anuja Vaidya -   Print  |

Three spine surgeons discuss their daily routines and how they ensure their productivity remains high.

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 can spine surgeons ensure health IT tools do not get in the way of the physician-patient relationship?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at by Wednesday, May 8, 5 p.m. CST.

Question: What is an integral part of your daily routine that helps you maintain productivity?

Richard Kube, MD. Founder and CEO of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute (Peoria, Ill.): First, my staff makes certain that I don't have many, if any, gaps in my schedule. Efficiency is key and also fairly obvious. I check in with my COO at the end of every business day (usually also when I'm on vacation) to troubleshoot and keep momentum high. This allows for us to keep a narrow path forward and avoid detours. Once our strategy is locked for our goals, we use that daily check to quickly revisit the big picture and make sure we are headed in the right direction.

Additionally, my COO and I meet weekly with all the department heads so that we can learn what obstacles they face and provide solutions and help bring them up to speed on vision and strategy. This provides for a unified team and keeps development at the highest level during brainstorm[ing] and delivers it to middle management refined and ready for implementation.

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: On a daily basis, I clear out my messages. Communicating with patients and their doctors helps keep me caught up. It keeps your work current and really keeps you in touch with your referrals and patients. I go to the gym on most days and do some weights and cardio, and head right over to clinic. I am energized and focused. Lunch hour is work hour; I review the day's scans and faxes and catch up with phone calls.

After clinic, I go home, spend time with my family, watch some Netflix and respond to emails. My mantra, I guess, would be 'always moving.' I don't like downtime unless we are on vacation. Even then, admittedly, I feel like I should be doing something. There is something to be said, though, about not being productive when it's appropriate. That, in and of itself, can help you scale up productivity when you need to.

Issada Thongtrangan, MD. Orthopedic Spine and Neurosurgeon at Minimally Invasive Spine (Phoenix): For me, the best thing I can do to be productive is to create a morning routine. My routine is to start my day with being positive and being grateful for what I have. This will help set my mind on what I want to focus on for the day and set my heart and mind in the right attitude for the day. I usually apply and practice 'four agreements of life' throughout the day:

1. Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity.
2. Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.
3. Don't make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
4. Always do your best.

More articles on spine:
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Mayo Clinic research examines 3D printed spine models


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