In the sports medicine field, patients are forgoing their primary care provider and opting instead for specialized care from orthopedic or sports medicine specialists.
While the decision comes down to many factors, orthopedic practices specializing in sports medicine offer patients a level of expertise when it comes to sports related injuries that is unrivaled throughout healthcare.
Becker's Spine Review spoke to Michael Milligan, MD, a nonsurgical sports medicine specialist at Gulf Breeze, Fla.-based Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine about the state of the sports medicine market and what the future has in store for it.
Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.
Question: Patients have several options when it comes to sports medicine practices. What makes a practice stand out? Is it solely related to physician prestige?
Michael Milligan: Ultimately, patient experience and patient outcomes are the measure of any clinical practice.
Though name recognition does not guarantee either, there is certainly an inherent confidence for the patient when receiving care with a program or physician recognized for quality outcomes. Quality is not a measurement of investment in marketing and advertising. Rather, it requires an understanding and recognition of true patient and physician measures.
Q: With the rapid growth in the field, how can the industry support as many practices as it does? What do you think the sports medicine industry will look like five years down the road?
MM: The growth in the number of practices speaks to the need and the diversity of patients that benefit from services of specialty orthopedic and sports medicine practices. These services not only benefit the elite athlete but also benefit anyone with an orthopedic condition.
The principles of expedient and expert evaluation and treatment plan development are an advantage to any patient. Cutting edge evaluations and interventions, as well as ongoing research and innovation, can benefit any patient.
Certainly, some markets may see contraction; however, across the nation, I anticipate a continued growth in practices as patients continue to develop an understanding and appreciation for the benefits of receiving care at specialty facilities.
Q: Will the introduction of wearables change how physicians deliver and develop treatment?
MM: Wearables appear to be here to stay. The technology is rapidly advancing. Continued technology integration is critical. For physicians and other healthcare providers, catching the research up to the data being amassed will be critical in order to maximize the utility of the information captured. The ultimate benefit to the user will be the marriage of the data collection to evaluations, treatments and outcomes.