The surgeon, being an exceptional clinician, worked up the patient using various imaging options to discern that the patient wasn't a candidate for TDA. Unhappy with the surgeon's diagnosis, the patient was intent on finding someone that would be willing to perform the procedure. The patient told the Surgeon, that since it was on the internet, it must be new, it must be true and it will make a difference.
Unfortunately, after seeing three more surgeons, the patient was told that he was only a candidate for a fusion. So what's the moral of the story. It's time the industry gets a grip on the insanity of Direct To Consumer Marketing, aka DTC. Consumer Driven Healthcare will never work, neither will DTC. Yet, let's look at the insanity.
Stryker hires Jack Nicklaus to talk about the his new hip. Are consumers that gullible, that they believe that by going into their surgeon's office and telling them what to use, that the surgeon is going to use a Stryker Ceramic-on-Ceramic Hip when they were trained on a Biomet System? Does the patient believe that they will be a champion golfer like Jack? Or, if it was good for Jack, it must be good for me!
Let's look at Erectile Dysfunction! I realize that this blog isn't about spine, but we do work in a rigid environment. How many Cialis commercials do my kids have to sit through when watching a football game or golf tournament. Are there that many American men that experience ED? Just look at the demographics of these two viewing groups. In all likelihood they fall into the category that has heart disease, have had a recent heart attack, experience high or low blood pressure, have liver or kidney disease, stomach ulcers, are hemophiliacs, have sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, retinitis, and penile deformation. I guess this rules out 90-95% of the viewing public. But here's the kicker, if our male readers needed Cialis, would you be sitting there with your girlfriend or wife watching the sunset in separate bath tubs? Not on my life.
So here is my advice to the FDA. When November comes around and you spend two days listening to medical device and pharmaceutical companies lobbying for less restrictions on DTC marketing, line them up in firing squad fashion, and send them home wagging their tales. It was just a few years ago, that Tony Viscogliosi was declaring that the majority of patients getting fusions would create the brave new world of total disc arthroplasty. JP Morgan jumped on the band wagon, and declared, this product segment a future grand slam investment. Those analyses only served the person making those comments. Today, we are still debating reimbursements on total disc arthroplasty. Just imagine having to sit through 500 pedicle screw commercials?
So in closing, all this information makes physicians lives much more difficult when it comes to taking care of their patients. As I have argued in previous blogs, the patient as a healthcare consumer is not like a consumer shopping for a car or buying a rug. The Spine Blogger wants to know what our readers think?