Author: Martina Stippler, MD, FACS, FAANS
I hope this issue of the Congress Quarterly finds you safe, well, and sane. As we conceptualized this issue on Innovation in Neurosurgery, we did not anticipate that we would deliver it in a world very much different from the one we knew.
As our day-to-day lives are disrupted, these unprecedented times challenge us to innovate, adapt, and change. Who would have thought that we would be holding our clinics virtually and checking on our patients through videocalls and chat rooms? Some of us have pioneered telemedicine for years, only to have the clinical and regulatory system make implementation cumbersome. As a result, telemedicine was not widely adopted. But within 48 hours of our hospital restricting access, we had a telehealth platform in place, a billing code available, and were seeing most of our patients virtually. You will find a refresher on telehealth and how this innovation could change the care we are providing in this issue.
As schools and universities are closed and large gatherings are banned, we now must conduct all our education virtually. Many neurosurgery programs have acted swiftly and embraced the new platform, as did the CNS, and I want to make all of you aware of the Virtual Visiting Professor activity the CNS has launched with the help of numerous volunteers. In this issue, Drs. Steinberg and Veeravagu, along with their program manager, Diana Anthony, share their team's experience with virtual teaching using the next generation of simulation.
Luckily, neurosurgery does not need a pandemic to institute change. As we show in this issue, innovations in the field of neurosurgery already take place on multiple fronts.
Drs. Lawton and Frisoli present innovative bypass surgery techniques. Doctor Grande et al report on stem cell therapy for stroke. We learn about precision medicine and application outside of cancer diagnosis. Drs. Tso, Rajah, and Dossani discuss the novel idea of remote robotic neuroendovascular surgery, which is most interesting in the current environment.
Big data research and its application to neurosurgery is presented by Drs. Oermann and Caridi, and Dr. Chambless informs us of the CNS Data Scholar Program, a new education model the CNS if offering to stimulate big data research in neurosurgery.
If you have ideas and are interested in becoming an inventor or mentoring people around you, you will enjoy the article on how the Barrow Innovation Center mentors future inventors, as well as the article by Dr. Savastano on how to get your start-up off the ground.
Although these are challenging times for so many of us, this crisis brings our priorities into focus and will change us and our specialty. We all can innovate, adapt, and change neurosurgery for the better. Put more directly, in the words of Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."