Why independent practice, outpatient surgery will drive the orthopedic field over the next 10 years

View Original Article on Becker’s Spine Review

Independent practice, coupled with the drive for outpatient surgery, will transform the orthopedic field in the coming years, according to Nitkin Khanna, MD, of Munster-based Orthopedic Specialists of Northwest Indiana. In an interview with Becker’s Spine Review, Dr. Khanna highlighted how orthopedic surgeons can maintain their independence and other factors impacting the orthopedic industry.

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Question: What major trends are shaping the orthopedic field and how can orthopedic surgeons thrive as healthcare continues to shift to a value-based payment model?

Dr. Nitkin Khanna: The move to outpatient surgery and independent orthopedic practice will be major drivers over the next 10 years. Physician autonomy and “patient first” care cannot be accomplished under a hospital employed model. Physician satisfaction scores and patient care will always be better with physician empowerment as physicians are the only stakeholder that has pledged an oath to the patient. In spite of what the system wants, the patients are not happy with the new corporate medicine approach and they want to be able to connect and have continuity with their doctor.

Question: What new partnerships/ancillary services are orthopedic surgeons eyeing and have you forged any partnerships that have reaped successful at Orthopedic Specialists of Northwest Indiana?

Dr. Nitkin Khanna: In order to maintain independence, it is key to be able to derive income from ancillary revenue streams to offset huge overhead costs. Managing these more cost-effective and higher quality ancillary services is key to ensuring they provide a net benefit to the organization. We are now seeing insurance companies recommend that patients seek these services from our physicians and our office-based services as the quality and costs are far superior. This drive towards a more sensible and transparent system seems intuitive.

Further, it will be the responsibility of the independent orthopedic groups to align with current hospital systems to provide services for their captured patients. Independent groups will also need to directly market their services to the patient in order to maintain their market share.