What's next for tech? 3 leaders' thoughts

From surgical robots to virtual reality, technology's place in medicine is constantly evolving.

Here is what three leaders have to say about these emerging technologies:

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Kyle Anderson. Vice President of Finance and ASC at Ortho Rhode Island (Warwick): Orthopedics is so ripe for technologies and innovations. So there are certain disruptors that you sort of keep an eye on that serve the basic blocking and tackling of operating in a center and technologies or advances that help you to achieve efficiencies associated with time. Whether or not that is optimizing time or measuring time or anything that allows you to control some of the variables throughout the day. But from a true industry disruptor standpoint, when I think about the technology bucket, I think about virtual or mixed reality, whether or not those are headsets or some other technologies that have the opportunity to be embedded into the entire surgical process.

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Alfonso del Granado. Administrator and CEO of Covenant High Plains Surgery Centers (Lubbock, Texas): I'm wary of the increasing incursion of robotics into procedures that could be done laparoscopically. Although we have robots for our total joints program and our general surgery service line, these were necessary to bring new volume into our centers, especially total joints. But of course the added expenses are not accompanied by concomitant increases in reimbursement rates, so we work with our surgeons to limit the number and types of cases that get scheduled on the robots. I should note that our general surgeons have been excellent partners in communicating the rationale for every robotic case, but it behooves everyone to keep an eye out to protect against robotic mission creep.

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Kern Singh, MD. Co-director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at Rush (Chicago): If you become too heavily reliant on expensive technology, then the transition to the outpatient arena will be very difficult. ASCs don't have the resources or capital to spend a million dollars on the robot when the procedures can be performed without that system. Unless the price drops, which I doubt since hospitals are willing to pay it, the transition will be more painful.

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