"Even with similar clinical outcomes and generally similar infection rates, in first-world countries spine surgical procedures are performed more simply and at much lower costs," he says. "In general, patient preparation is quick and simple, turnaround times are rapid, they use limited resources efficiently and staff size is small and highly focused."
He shares five more observations about the differences between the spine markets.
1. Mandated physical therapy, waiting time. "In many countries, as we are seeing more here, patients can't get quick access to surgery unless they opt out of public hospitals and choose private hospitals," Mr. Zorn says. "They often have to go through physical therapy and more conservative therapies and then, failing that, will have access to surgery."
2. Rationing in public hospitals leads to queues for surgery. As a result of rationing in public hospitals, many countries have long queues in public facilities. "Often surgeons and practices have little need for marketing or promotion," he says.
3. Almost no outpatient surgery. It is very rare to see outpatient surgical centers treating spine other then pain centers, Mr. Zorn says.
4. Longer length of stay. "Many countries with quazi public-universal type health systems will expect a patient to remain in hospital for 3-5 days after surgical procedures and many are then discharged to residential physical therapy centers for rehab with no expectation to return to work for long periods of 'recovery,' " Mr. Zorn says.
5. Less pressure. "Operating room staff [in global markets] is generally a tight team with long work experience together," he says. "With the removal of billing and administrative pressure, OR teams and surgeons generally seem less stressed than here in States."
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