Surgery Partners is a leading healthcare services company that operates surgical facilities, delivering high-quality care across the United States. As part of our commitment to educating providers, we are launching a series that features interviews with top doctors from our network. These experts will share their insights and expertise on a range of medical topics, helping to enhance healthcare for practices, patients, and physicians.
Below is the first interview in a series devoted to the virtues of balance that we’ll be continuing in the coming months. Specifically, we’ll be discussing the benefits of balancing the various needs of your patients, your practice, and your own time as a physician. These conversations highlight how achieving balance can drive clinical advancements and provide the opportunity for physicians to have a voice in the decisions that affect their personal and professional success.
“In today’s world, if you feel that you can serve the needs of all your patients with one location...you’ve probably got your head in the sand.”
In this inaugural article, we’re featuring a Q&A with one of our partners, Dr. Jack W. Bowling. Dr. Bowling is a joint surgeon from Wilmington SurgCare and a sought-after national speaker who shares his expertise, experience, and passion on a wide variety of orthopedic and sports medicine topics.
A Series on Patients, Practices, and Physicians
Surgery Partners: How do you balance the needs of your patients, your practice, and your own well being to drive successful outcomes?
Dr. Jack W. Bowling: Partnerships. In today’s world, if you feel that you can serve the needs of all your patients with one location, such as a hospital, you’ve probably got your head in the sand. I think patients, partly driven by their experience in the pandemic, but also prior to that, their interest in being at home to recover is an important driver. Being able to offer them an opportunity to have an outpatient procedure or, if they’re more comfortable, to have an overnight procedure or even an extended stay procedure is preferable. Walking into a room without knowing a patient at that moment and working through their needs and wishes with those options at my disposal – the options that come with partnerships – well, it gives me the confidence to fit the patient with the right location and the right procedure.
SP: Can relationships aid in overcoming the fear of pain in patients?
DJWB: In my opinion, the biggest reason patients resist going to an outpatient center is the fear of pain. So we have to communicate to them that the post-surgery pain may not even be more than what they experienced prior to surgery. If their pain level is an 8 or a 9 coming into an operation, we can get it well below that with technology, with blocks, with our intra-articular injections, with our multimodal pathways, so it’s a collaborative effort that can lead to an excellent outcome.
SP: Is it fair to say that there’s a value in the collaboration between hospital employees and independent practitioners?
DJWB: I’m an independent, a solo practitioner – some people call me the last dinosaur (laughing). It just isn’t that common anymore. Most physicians are in larger groups or they’re employed with a center or hospital. Unfortunately, that may create pressure to perform a procedure at one location or another that I don’t experience. So the only difference that I see is that I can really focus on the patient’s best interest whereas if you’re employed, you may get pressure to perform the procedure wherever you’re employed and not necessarily be able to do what the patient wants.
“The advantage is we learn about each other and we trust each other much more...”
SP: What are the advantages of relationships in surgery?
“Having that team that you work with that have the same goals as you, to work for the better of the patient, you can’t get that just anywhere.”
SP: If a surgeon was deciding whether to go independent or join a surgery center, what advice would you offer?