From increasing patient volume to expanding surgical presence and doubling down on white-glove service, four spine surgeons share how they are thinking about growth in the coming years.
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: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for spine surgeons today?
Please send responses to Alan Condon at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. CST Wednesday, May 12.
Note: The following responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.
Question: How is your practice looking at growth in the next three years?
Neel Shah, MD. DISC Sports & Spine Center (Newport Beach, Calif.): This question hits close to home. I packed up my practice in New York City and moved to Southern California in the middle of the pandemic. In terms of growing my practice, I am looking at how to better engage with patients both inside and outside of the office. This includes developing a curated, well-reviewed informational portal on my website and using social media to better educate our patients.
Richard Kube, MD. Prairie Spine (Peoria, Ill.): We are focused upon growing our spine surgical presence in the free market medical space. With rising costs, there is a distinct synergy that is created between healthcare consumers and value-based providers. I believe that further educating consumers regarding options will help to grow this market. We believe much of this market is obtainable by our practice.
Brian Gantwerker, MD. Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Practice growth is looking more and more like diversification. As so many practices are absorbed or closed by larger entities, we look to distinguish ourselves by our availability, outcomes and patient experience. What sets good practices apart from the larger entities is that patients are seen by a doctor, not a midlevel or resident. Patients that wish to have an experience where their surgeries are explained to them in detail, what they can expect and have an open forum to ask questions and understand not just the 'how,' but also the 'why,' and not shuffled off, will find us. Hopefully that will continue to happen.
I have no single benchmark or level that I am going after, but I look to my patients and staff and see how we are doing. Just getting more referrals and operating and doing 20 cases a week is not growth. Growth is the enhancement of patient lives, whether it is doing or not doing surgeries, helping someone however you can whenever you can, building your reputation not only as a surgeon, but as a doctor, and holding yourself accountable all the time.
Andrew Hecht, MD. Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): Our plan for growth is tied to the unwinding of the COVID-19 pandemic. As our surgeons and noninvasive specialists resume normal activity, we will continue to grow our volume and physician complement. We are also expanding our Mount Sinai spine care network throughout the region.