Whether we as neurosurgeons like it or not, brain and spine surgeries represent major profit potential for hospital systems. This fiscal circumstance produces intense competition across hospital systems for patients with these conditions. In addition, patients with neurosurgical pathologies often become extremely informed regarding their condition. Unfettered access to information on the internet and in online forums makes neurosurgical patients a challenging group of patients to capture, as they are highly discerning when choosing their surgeon. How, as a neurosurgeon, can you effectively capture this niche market?
The fundamental key is to develop an understanding of the forces that drive referral patterns—including access to care, quality of treatment, patient outcomes, referring physician satisfaction, surgeon reputation, and program recognition. Medicine is an art and a science, but it is also a business. These pearls for excelling at the business of medicine are typically neglected during medical school, residency, and fellowship, but they are critical for career success. It has almost become taboo for physicians to openly acknowledge the business side of the equation.
This glaring lack is what inspired us to develop a course called “Building A High Volume Patient-centric Practice with Optimal Outcomes.” The course will be directed by Dr. Rick Komotar, Professor, Program Director, and Brain Tumor Fellowship Director at the University of Miami Department of Neurosurgery, and Dr. Dan Eichberg, Neurosurgery resident at the University of Miami, authors of the bestselling book The Business of Brain Tumors: A Handbook for Building a Patient-Centric Practice with Optimal Outcomes. The course will feature prominent speakers such as Dr. Robert Spetzler, Chairman Emeritus of Barrow Neurological Institute, and Dr. Annie Wilson, Professor of Marketing at Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Despite the intense competition for patients among hospital systems, and the increasingly discerning nature of patients searching for the best possible neurosurgeon, neurosurgery residency graduates are not necessarily well equipped to build a clinical practice.
Medicine is an art and a science, but it is also a business. These pearls for excelling at the business of medicine are typically neglected during medical school, residency, and fellowship, but they are critical for career success. It has almost become taboo for physicians to openly acknowledge the business side of the equation. This glaring lack is what inspired us to develop this course.
Despite our emphasis on the so-called “business side” of medicine, the strategies in this course are genuinely geared towards improving patient care. The ultimate goal is producing a high volume neurosurgeon—such a surgeon develops a vast clinical experience that generally leads to more favorable outcomes. Indeed, multiple high profile peer-reviewed publications have confirmed that large provider caseloads are associated with lower patient morbidity/mortality rates, shorter hospital stays, and greater gross total resection rates of brain tumors. This direct relationship between large provider caseloads and patient outcomes is so well documented that it has a name: the volume-outcome effect. We want to empower as many physicians as possible to leverage the volume-outcome effect, thereby enhancing the level of care provided to their patients. We also aim to help high volume physicians develop high volume centers, which similarly benefit from the volume-outcome effect and thus produce superior patient outcomes.
Course learning objectives include understanding the forces that drive referral patterns for neurosurgical patients, creating a personalized written action plan for implementing volume-building strategies into one’s practice, developing the leadership skills required to turn one’s practice into a center of excellence, and learning strategies for overcoming specific and unique hurdles to building a large practice in various geographic and administrative environments.
Register here for “Building A High Volume Patient-centric Practice with Optimal Outcomes” at the AANS 2022 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on Friday April 29, 2022, from 1-4:30PM.
Dr. Komotar and Dr. Eichberg have no conflicts of interest to report.
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