Below is an excerpt from an interview for the article “8 Experts on Most Important Areas for Spine Research.” Dr. Roush is discussing the most important areas for spine research in the future.
Thomas Roush, MD, Founder, Roush Spine, Lake Worth, Fla.: In this era where a premium is placed on evidence-based medical and surgical treatment, it is important for spine surgeons to actively engage not only in research but also its interpretation and application. There is no question that Level-1 evidence through randomized, prospective clinical trials remains the gold standard in research and should be attained whenever possible.
The extraordinary time, expense and resource allocation associated with such studies, however, makes them difficult to obtain. This reality should not pose an impediment to spine surgeon research involvement, as valuable information can be gathered through lesser levels of evidence. In fact, lesser levels of evidence studies are the foundation upon which future Level-1 studies are built. Of particular concern to me is the misuse and mischaracterization which occurs when spine research studies are left for interpretation by non-spine surgeons. The bias introduced when non-spine surgeons are involved often taints the conclusions of the studies and leads to misapplication of the true meaning of the study results.
Most often, overgeneralizations are made outside of the actual scope of the hypothesis and conclusion in favor of the bias of the interpreting non-spine surgeon. This in turn leads to negative impact on health policy and patient care. I believe that we as spine surgeons have an obligation to conduct and interpret meaningful clinical and basic science studies to the benefit of our patients, as we have been increasingly subject to the negative ramifications of the interpretation by those less qualified.
Article excerpt from beckersspine.com