Driving change in outpatient spine surgery: Q&A with Laser Spine Institute CEO Roger Cary

President and CEO of Tampa, Fla.-based Laser Spine Institute Roger Cary discusses the best opportunities for outpatient spine surgery and where the field is headed in the future.

Question: What do you see as the biggest opportunities for spine surgery development in the field? How is the spine care provider model changing?

Roger Cary: Collaboration. Sharing expertise. And the development of a truly holistic solution. These are the biggest opportunities I see for the field of spine surgery. And here’s why. At Laser Spine Institute, we talk to hundreds of people daily who are dealing with chronic neck or back pain, but only 5 percent of them move forward with spine surgery. What this tells me is that there is a huge opportunity to help those folks still dealing with debilitating pain find relief outside of surgery. That is where our Total Spine Care model comes in. By meeting the patient where they are in their search for pain relief, we can provide a menu of conservative care therapies that will help them thrive. Patients, insurers and employers are no longer asking for just a surgical solution — they are asking for a "spine care solution."

Q: What factors are driving change in the spine care field today?

RC: With the growing number of patients going online for information, outcomes data has become increasingly important in driving change in the spine care field. Another huge factor driving change is technology. With the introduction of new equipment, supplies and surgical techniques, we can now perform historically inpatient surgeries in an ASC setting. I firmly believe that research and innovation helps organizations stay ahead of the curve. This becomes especially relevant as minimally invasive surgery continues to evolve — with lower infection rates, smaller incisions and quicker recovery.

Q: How can clinicians make sure they're providing value-based care for back pain patients?

RC: The care models that we as healthcare providers have developed must continue to evolve. At Laser Spine Institute, this has been an ongoing process. We look closely at the partners we work with to ensure the care we deliver is not only the best in the industry but what is truly the most effective and efficient option for pain relief for our patients.

Clinicians should be mindful when incorporating conservative and postsurgical care in their treatment plans, so patients suffering from neck and back pain can receive the highest level of pain relief at the least invasive level of treatment. By bundling pricing, we can ensure patients are receiving the most cost effective treatment as well. And as we see more orthopedic and spine procedures at our ASCs, we are going to consider bundle pricing as a payment option.

Q: Where do you see Laser Spine Institute and outpatient spine surgery headed in the future?

RC: The future of Laser Spine Institute and outpatient spine surgery has already started to become a reality for our organization. Laser Spine Institute's mission has always been to deliver hope, healing and restoration by providing the highest level of minimally invasive spine care. We are now extending our services beyond spine surgery to deliver conservative care treatment options, allowing us to focus on meeting patients where they are in their journey to find relief, and helping them to regain the quality of life they deserve.

To make this bold vision a reality, we have built a network of like-minded, high-quality clinical partners who are certified preferred providers in communities we are not able to serve directly within our seven ASCs. Looking forward, we will continue to lead this growing network of providers across the country by offering the full spectrum of care options, along with a true conservative care option based in our ASCs to help patients who are not candidates or not able to travel for surgery. One of the primary reasons patients do not move forward with surgery is travel. So one of the guiding and strategic insights behind the creation of this affiliate network is to meet patients where they are.

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