At AAOS, Hips and Joints Bend for Business

Business as usual isn’t cutting it in the orthopedics space these days. “Five years ago, everyone coming into my booth wanted to talk about my latest product,” says John Reyher, senior vice president and general manager for StelKast. StelKast is a mid- level private company that focuses exclusively on hips and knees. “Today,” he says, “my customers are coming to me with a business focus.”


John Reyher, Stelkast

And the change feels universal at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons(AAOS) 2013 event. Almost every company and conversation put new product innovation aside to discuss the challenges physicians are facing with the changing healthcare landscape. “They might be dealing with a bundled payment model, an ACO, or a comanagement agreement with their hospital,” says Reyher. “Each of these models is different and requires us to look at how we can be more efficient and provide better costs to the healthcare system.”


Stelkast’s plan for 2013 isn’t to come out with the next big blockbuster, but rather to focus on the business needs of physicians, and then share those discoveries with their customers, along with a plan to manage costs. Reyher explains that Stelkast is a private company and has the flexibility to maneuver the business needs.


That is not to say StelKast plans to forget R&D. Rather, says Reyher, the company will make a strategic focus to develop products that have clinical value. “It has to be right opportunity.” For the record, StelKast did not come to AAOS without a new product. The company just released an EXP antioxidant polyethylene product that is impregnated and crosslinked with vitamin E. The material improves wear rates of the device.


But for Reyher, the real focus is on what customers really need, which, in the new environment, is cost effectiveness and clinical outcomes.


Reyher says customers who are working with him on understanding the business needs of physicians have been positive in their response. “There are a lot of unknowns, right now,” he says. If StelKast can help customers solve the business problems, Reyher says it will pave the way for better collaboration with payers, hospitals, and patients. “In five years, I hope to be having these conversations with all stakeholders at the table, coming up with healthcare solutions.”

The discussion on orthopedics trends and strategies for the next five years continues at OrthoTec, 2013, June 5-6, 2013 in Winona Lake (Warsaw), IN. 

Heather Thompson


More From AAOS 2013

At AAOS, Surgeons Debate Accountable Care and the Role of Devices

Two Lessons on Innovation and Physician Clout from AAOS 2013

Device talk Tags: