How to evaluate new technologies and techniques.

by | Jul 13, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Interventional Spine Tech: Revolutionary or All Hype? June 16-18, 2022

Recently, I participated on a panel at the 19th Annual Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management – Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on June 16. The panel was, “Interventional Spine Tech; Revolutionary or All Hype ?”

One of the panel questions was,How to evaluate new technologies and techniques?”

I was able to break down my evaluation process into 4 steps. 

The First is to Examine the Concept. Does it make sense from your experience and practice ? This seems so obvious, yet, I’ve seen skillful presentations about emerging technologies that questioned my sense of logic.

Second is to Evaluate Potential Risks. As an orthopedic surgeon, I look at risks in the short term but, even more importantly, you must assess the long run. Humans are naturally more inclined to look at the short term risks, which are easier to assess and evaluate. However, the longer term risks in many cases are more important. As professionals, we owe it to our patients to understand the long term risks well enough to explain them to our patients, who really don’t think in terms of “long term risks”. Certainly the revision and removal of medical devices has certain risks.     

The Third is to look for ways to diagnose by mimic or a block to predict the success of a procedure. This is really important to avoid doing things that aren’t going to help a person. If someone has insurance they might not be so concerned about this since insurance buffers the expense of trying something out. However in a cash practice, you better have it right and be sure that patient and doctor agree that you have identified the source of a problem (usually pain). 

Finally, the fourth is to perform the procedure. This is where you will discover how easy or difficult a procedure is to perform and to consider other issues that were not apparent at first. An example of this would be performing a procedure that looked easy and made sense but was associated with a lot of X-ray exposure.


Onward and Upward

Tony Mork, MD

Endoscopic Spine Specialist