'The biggest threat to orthopedics comes from within the industry': What we heard in August

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Spine and orthopedic experts in August spoke with Becker's about topics from medtech mergers to hospital partnerships.

"Hospitals and health systems look at healthcare delivery and revenue differently than smaller orthopedic practices. Critical to the success in any partnership is where each entity can bring value that they don't already capture. Often in hospital partnerships, the hospital is looking to keep lucrative orthopedic surgeries in the hospital setting and maximize that revenue stream. Smaller practices may be enticed by potential new referral sources and primary care networks. Beyond these benefits, analyzing an orthopedic group's current contracts and how they are affected in this partnership is essential. As value-based care reimbursement becomes more established with a goal of driving the total cost of care delivery down, some of these partnerships may not survive in the same manner as they were thought up. Lastly, the terms of the contract and when renegotiation happens is critical. Healthcare economics are constantly being challenged, and that changing landscape can make the next contract term quite different than the initial one." — Brian Larkin, MD, of Denver-based Orthopedic Centers of Colorado, on hospital partnerships with small practices.

"The biggest threat to orthopedics actually comes from within the industry. At times we can be our own worst enemy. Orthopedic groups that haven't seen the future tend to allow ego to get in the way of improved patient care. Instead of orthopedic groups isolating themselves, we should band together and collaborate so we can collectively capture large segments of the market. This joint effort would not only benefit orthopedic practices but also payers in the upcoming years." — Nicholas Grosso, MD, of Bethesda, Md.-based Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, on the top threat to orthopedics.

"Future medtech company mergers have the opportunity to either disappoint or improve healthcare. The outcome is solely based on the heart of the companies. If the coalescence of these companies leads to the prevention of attainable healthcare and devices as well as commodifying patients, then it will be at the detriment to the medtech consumers first and ultimately the mergers long term. However, if the mergers improve the accessibility and quality of patient care, these plans could be exciting." — James Chappuis, MD, of Spine Center Atlanta on spine medtech company mergers.

"I would like to see better cost transparency in spine surgery in terms of biological and hardware implants. Surgeons are an integral part of managing healthcare costs, and lack of this knowledge may be harmful in the long term. For instance, this information would help us work with our facilities to advocate for certain implants that could be slightly more expensive, but more cost effective in the long term than other devices that are cheaper but have worse long-term durability." — Bjorn Lobo, MD, of DISC Sports and Spine Center in Newport Beach, Calif., on the change he wants to see in the spine industry.

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