Dr. Raj Narayan: 3D printing concerns and strategies to achieve value in spine

Written by Alan Condon | July 02, 2019 | Print  | Email

Raj Narayan, MD, is a professor and chairman of neurosurgery at East Garden City, N.Y.-based Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and director of the Manhasset, N.Y.-based Northwell Health Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery. 

Dr. Narayan provides his insight on the development of 3D printing and how cost-effectiveness can be improved in spine.

Question: How do you see 3D printing developing in spine? 

Dr. Raj Narayan: I would be concerned about variability in the quality of the implants and about their sterilization process. If these hurdles can be overcome, then 3D printing will be an option.

Q: Do you have any theories as to how cost-effectiveness in spine can be improved?

RN: There are several options — none of which are likely to be popular with the surgeons: (1) bundled payments for the surgery and the implants; (2) at-risk contracts for large employed groups; (3) uniform reimbursement regardless of the number of levels done; and (4) some portion of the payments being linked to patient satisfaction. However, each of these strategies could, and likely will have unintended consequences.

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