Engineering the Future of Care with an Orthopedic Surgeon’s Mindset By Ryan Wells
A Legacy of Foresight
Today’s orthopedic surgeon practices on the shoulders of visionaries like Sir John Charnley, the English orthopedist who pioneered hip replacement surgery after World War II. Like Charnley, the many surgeons who shaped orthopedics over the last century were creative masterminds far ahead of their time. Modern specialists reflect this legacy by embracing and performing the most cutting-edge research and procedures. It’s why the surgeon’s white coat signals knowledge and prescience the way a lighthouse’s beam signals danger.
By nature, surgery is a top-down construct: each undertaking requires an uppermost authority to oversee the action’s entire lifecycle–from intake to post-surgical care. State licensing boards and patients honor this hierarchy when entrusting complex procedures to the orthopedist, not the insurer. Given this, why are providers stripped of decision-making authority by third parties? It’s a paradoxical framework that deeply undermines efficient practice management. The system sends a mixed message by empowering doctors to perform complex procedures while stripping oversight capacity through opaque payment mandates. This modern weakness runs contrary to the structural support doctors otherwise receive, and Sir Charnley would disapprove.
The Engineer’s Superpower
Orthopedic surgeons are builders, not storytellers. Doctors depend on practical experiments and experience, not theories. The science-based framework ensures doctors possess excellent critical thinking capacity. If this were football, they would be the team’s quarterbacks. It makes sense that the empiricists would call the plays in their practice. But despite being in charge when in the operating room, today’s surgeons have been disempowered in every other aspect of today’s healthcare system.
However, I believe surgeons possess a superpower: the DNA of an engineer. And the best engineers don’t accept status quo restrictions; they engineer their way out of them.
Honoring the Legacy with Modern Practice Management
Since surgeons use only the best tools and technology in their operating room, why shouldn’t they use the best technologies when running their practice? This is the most critical step for the modern surgeon in reclaiming their autonomy.
At Health Here, we’ve constructed a unified platform to put the surgeon back in charge of their practice by removing operational clutter and confusion. Our solution suite conducts intake, calculates and receives payment, and pulls comprehensive health data from multiple electronic sources. Each tool is purpose-built to enable a fee-for-value episodic payment model because one fee ensures cost clarity.
By implementing a consumer-friendly toolset like ours, surgeons are not only eliminating operational barriers, but they are presenting a model that attracts more patients and a greater market share. What patient wouldn’t choose the doctor offering payment clarity, mobile-first access, and patient-centered care? I don’t see any hands in the air.
First Mover Advantage
I believe that the surgeon who isn’t looking for better technology to provide better outcomes may have lost sight of their field’s guiding principles. Orthopedists should be out front, blazing new trails like legendary “hip man” Sir Charnley.
I love seeing specialists light up when they talk about successful surgeries and healthy, happy patients. And I hate seeing that light disappear when talk turns to the restrictions third party involvement places on the performance of their craft. Think of the energy a specialist fresh out of residency possesses, fed by a passion for healing others. I want to sustain that first blush with technology that restores vitality to practices and refocuses surgeons on care over compliance. I’m excited for this future, and we’re already glimpsing it with our partner practices and providers.
There’s a better way, and orthopedic surgeons can lead us towards it.