Big data may change how orthopedists are paid

In the last 20 years, big data have become increasingly important in orthopedics. This field began with the development of orthopedic registries in Europe and expanded to include multiple musculoskeletal registries and databases worldwide that contain data on the outcomes of total joint replacement, ligament reconstruction, spine surgery and the incidence of trauma, among information that pertains to a host of other orthopedic procedures.

“[Big data has] become certainly popularized more recently due to an interest in making our health care system perform more predictably for an individual. We must find ways to reduce variability and cost drivers,” Frank J. Schwab, MD, chief of the Spine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery, told Orthopedics Today.

Right now, the main difference between large-scale orthopedic registries and databases in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom and those in the United States is that the United States does not yet have a 100% capture rate, according to sources interviewed.

“In the United States, [data collection is] truly voluntary with the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR), and so it is not 100%,” Ryan M. Nunley, MD, associate professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said.

He noted patients may receive a joint replacement at a hospital that participates in the AJRR, but they have a revision procedure at a hospital that does not participate in the AJRR. That gap in the data may skew the data.

However, that does not necessarily mean all U.S. registries have low capture rates, Nunley said.

“There are some health systems within the United States that do have much better registries, including the Kaiser [Permanente] system, the California Registry, [the] Michigan Registry, where they are becoming more sophisticated,” he said.

By Orthopedics Today

Image Credit: Robert Essel


About Peter Coffaro 629 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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