What's next for orthopedic surgery


Increased consolidation, ASCs and artificial intelligence will all play a role in how orthopedic care is delivered next year, according to Leesa Galatz, MD. 

Dr. Leesa Galatz is a professor and chair of the department of orthopedics at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. She recently spoke with Becker's about the changes she expects to see in orthopedic surgery in 2024. 

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Question: What changes do you expect to see in orthopedic surgery in 2024?

Dr. Leesa Galatz: 2024 will bring some changes and [will] also be a year where we will see trends gain momentum. CVS, Amazon and Optum are acquiring primary care physicians and offices, and we will see this trend continue. Patients want easy, immediate access and this model gives patients the convenience and value they are looking for. Patients will seek out specific physicians for surgical or specialty care, but for many primary care needs, they will choose the walk-in option. Orthopedic surgeons will have to establish relationships with these groups to capture referrals.

Digital apps for services such as physical therapy, mental health and fitness will gain popularity.  Wearable devices to monitor activity after surgery enables remote monitoring, and we will see many businesses getting into this market.

CMS recently approved shoulder arthroplasty, hip procedures and ankle reconstruction for ASCs. We will see a shift in volume of these procedures at ASCs. It is becoming increasingly difficult, especially in urban areas, to maintain a private practice office. Issues such as leveraging economies of scale for durables and medical supplies, negotiating rates with payers and attracting patients away from large health systems that keep patients in network will drive surgeons to employed models. Private equity will continue to be a force in acquiring and consolidating big groups.

The role of [artificial intelligence] in healthcare will certainly be relevant in coming years.  Businesses and research groups will push the boundaries and discover where this technology can increase value and quality.

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