Disruption has been a buzzword in the business and tech worlds since Napster and the mp3 player turned the music industry on its head. In fact, the forces of technological innovation and changes in consumer expectations have spurred disruption in countless industries over the recent decades, but medicine has historically been slower to respond.
Still, there is no denying that the acceleration of technological advances, changes in the regulatory environment and a rise in patient-centric care models have left us vulnerable to disruption. This issue of Congress Quarterly illustrates a number of these disruptive forces—from the use of artificial intelligence to technological advances in robotics, imaging and 3D printing, to changes in hiring and employment practices for neurosurgeons. Each author thoughtfully outlines the forces at play and their impact on our specialty.
I have always been a big tech fan, forever keeping an eye out for the next gadget. It’s one of the factors that led me to specialize in functional neurosurgery. I enjoy learning about and contributing to the development and application of new medical technology, and I get excited about the impact each innovation could have for my patients. But even I must admit that the pace of change in medicine can be difficult to keep up with. It is important for neurosurgeons to come together and examine these changes, share our experiences and collaborate on the best ways to move forward.
The Congress of Neurological Surgeons has long been dedicated to innovation—both in our commitment to following and educating our members on the latest innovations in the field and in our pursuit of new educational platforms and delivery vehicles. Over the past few years, we have refined our focus to ensure that our educational programs, publications and resources are not only qualitatively excellent and innovative in their approach, but also relevant to today’s neurosurgical practice. In doing so, we aim to help our members identify the forces weighing upon our specialty and adapt appropriately.
You’ll see this manifest in our Annual Meeting next month, where we’ve retooled our Practical Course offerings to address current topics most relevant to each subspecialty—including new technologies and approaches, as well as healthcare delivery models. We’ve added a new full-day symposium on Robotics in Neurosurgery that partners neurosurgeons with engineers to help them learn the nuances of robotic technologies and give them an opportunity to help shape the future of this technology and transform neurosurgical performance in the OR. Plus we are bringing back the Innovator of the Year Award, searching for the new technologies, techniques or processes that will have the greatest impact on our specialty. Three finalists will present their innovations in the CNS Xperience Lounge during a Monday break and attendees will vote to select a final winner.
Another program designed specifically to address some of the disruptive forces in neurosurgery is the CNS Leadership in Healthcare program. This growing program was developed to help aspiring and emerging neurosurgical leaders be more effective leading multi-disciplinary teams in today’s evolving health care delivery environment. The program has expanded to include courses for both early and mid-career neurosurgeons, each of which combines a live course with small group work and a mentorship component to help the leadership fellows address a specific project or challenge within their organization. This year’s fellows are helping their home institutions manage disruptive forces impacting their operations, working on projects that range from increasing clinical volume and throughput to establishing a comprehensive data registry
or implementing a regional telehealth network.
Even for clinical courses, the CNS education division maintains a focus on how new technologies and other forces are impacting neurosurgical care. Our Acute Stroke Symposia, held this spring, were developed to improve outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke by creating a team-based training approach for the multidisciplinary neurocritical care team. The curriculum also addressed novel diagnostic modalities and the impact of telestroke. Likewise, our new MIS Cranial Course coming in February is designed to help general neurosurgeons learn about the latest technologies in neuro-navigation, endoscopy and Laser Interstitial Therapy and how to incorporate them into practice in order to stay relevant.
It is not always possible to predict when the next disruptive innovation will strike, but you can trust that the CNS will continue to monitor this rapidly advancing specialty to develop timely and relevant courses and tools to help you anticipate and adapt to the change.