What 2 spine surgeons hope to achieve in the next 5 years

Written by Anuja Vaidya | May 23, 2019 | Print  |

Two spine surgeons, Brian R. Gantwerker, MD, and Issada Thongtrangan, MD, discuss their hopes for the next five years of their career.

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: What is the next major regulatory change you would like to see in the spine field?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at avaidya@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, May 29, 5 p.m. CST.

Question: What is your professional five-year plan?

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: My goal is to survive in practice. Partnering with other private physicians and forming associations of independent doctors remains a viable option for those wanting to stay independent. I still have faith that doctors remain, and must remain, the ones that protect patients from big data and fancy footwork with statistics to hide an undercurrent of unhappy and poorly taken care-of patients. My faith in my fellow physicians remains strong, and I think we will be able to pull back the doctor-patient relationship from its erosion by huckster MBAs and other non-doctors who see 'shifts,' DRGs and dollar signs rather than individual lives. My ultimate aim is to take back practice and make it about the doctor and patient again and relegate the insurers and government to serve the interests of patients, not the other way around.

Issada Thongtrangan, MD. Orthopedic Spine and Neurosurgeon at Minimally Invasive Spine (Phoenix): I would like to see my practice shifting more toward truly minimally invasive spine surgery utilizing endoscopic techniques, navigation techniques and virtual reality or even artificial intelligence, as data have shown excellent patient outcomes. The advanced technology can bring us to the next level of spine care, especially 'endoscopic technique' which is a true MIS and can be utilized in many aspects of surgery including decompression and even fusion. I am also preparing my practice for value-based care as I predict that this will be widely utilized in the near future. My practice has been collecting patient outcome data which will be transparent to the public in an era of direct consumer care.

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