March 2016

Safety and Value Committee Update

Suken A. Shah, MD
Safety and Value Committee Chair

The Safety and Value Committee continues to work on ways to bring safety and value initiatives to our membership and keep folks aware of developments in this constantly changing landscape.  In order to make spinal deformity surgery sustainable, we need to demonstrate that what we do improves quality of life and can be done reproducibly, safely and cost-effectively. 

We have submitted applications for educational sessions during the 51st Annual Meeting & Course dealing with value initiatives, the era of bundled care in spine surgery, best practice guidelines for adult and pediatric deformity, reducing variability and eliminating error.  We are working closely with the Risk Stratification Task Force to bring critical issues to the forefront and support their education and research initiatives.  There is work being done to develop a surgical risk score.  Our international members will benefit from methods to improve access to spine surgery, expand resources and advocacy for patients.  A more recent area of discussion in the committee has been the continuum of proper informed consent, discussion of risk, what constitutes competency and negligence and how to deal with legal implications in this regard.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), together with the Board of Specialty Societies and the Quality and Patient Safety Action Fund, has made $50,000 available in grant funding.  The deadline is April 1, 2016.  Please go to for more information or contact Paul Zemaitis, MPH at  Although the process is expected to be competitive, previous efforts from SRS members have been funded, so we should encourage our colleagues to pursue this important work.

There is mounting evidence that two attending surgeons operating together for complex adult deformity cases, 3 column osteotomies, etc. can reduce complications and improve outcomes (Sethi R, J Spine Deformity 2014 and Ames C, J Spine Deformity 2013).  This is commonplace among our colleagues in the UK and required by law for cardiac surgery in California.  Inherent with this approach come issues with payment, hospital administration / resources.  A white paper on the co-surgeon strategy will be forthcoming to help members navigate the payer issues and champion this approach at your institution.

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions for the committee, please email me at

Chair: Suken A. Shah, MD Committee: Kit M. Song, MD, MHA; James O. Sanders, MD; Mark Weidenbaum, MD; Terry D. Amaral, MD; John R. Dimar II, MD; Mark A. Erickson, MD; Rajiv K. Sethi, MD; Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH; David S. Marks, FRCS