Dr. Zeev Kain on Why Interdisciplinary Conferences are so Important to Value-Based Care

January 31, 2017



We talked to Zeev Kain, MD, MBA, about his motivation for spearheading the Orthopedic Value-Based Care conference. Hear his takeaways from this year, and what’s in store for next year’s #LeadingVBHC.


Breanna Cunningham: Hi there. Bre Cunningham here with the Dr. Kain. Dr. Kain, what an epic conference. For the first time that this has happened, as a person that was attending most of these sessions, I was absolutely amazed, and it was different. It had a different feel and I just would love to hear the origins of this. How were you inspired to put this together?

Dr. Zeev Kain: Thank you, Breanna. I did feel the energy. I was energized myself.

About four years ago we started a program around joints at the University of California, Irvine. What I immediately realized is that the various stakeholders are not talking to each other. We got better, and we improved.

Then I started traveling around the country, and everywhere I went there was the same problem. You had the healthcare executives, the C-suites, and so on. You have the physicians, and then you have the nurses. Guess what? They’re not talking to each other, and everybody does their own thing. I thought, “Well, how am I going to bring all these people together?”

Then I started going to their conferences, and I realized immediately to each one of these domains is going to their own conference. The nurses will go to ARN, the orthopedic surgeons will go to the hip and knee. I said, “Okay, I need a conference where everybody comes together.” That’s the origin of this idea. This conference is to bring everybody together. Lucky or unlucky, we have a third of the audience nurses, a third of physicians, and a third of healthcare executives.

Cunningham: I love it. You know, there was a point in the conference where I think this was really put on display. It was a point during the session when you were speaking, and there were questions from the audience. The three people that came up back to back were, what were their roles again?

Kain: Orthopedic surgeon, a nurse, and a healthcare executive.

Cunningham: Perfect example of that. I don’t think you see that at too many conferences.

Kain: You do not, you do not. I was happy.

Cunningham: What was your favorite session that you attended and why? I know it’s hard because there were so many good ones.

Kain: There are so many. Perhaps the last session today, and that’s because I had various people out there. I had the orthopedic surgeon, an anesthesiologist, the president of NAON, which is the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses. I had the chief operating officer of Rothman Institute. That was great, that was great, and everybody works together and talks to each other. That’s really what I wanted to achieve.

Cunningham: Tell me, Kevin Bozic, the godfather of outcomes in orthopedics, you just called him up and said, “Kevin, I have this great idea.” Tell me how that went.

Kain: Well, so I know Kevin for many years. I joined the University of California at Irvine eight years ago. Kevin obviously is the leading person at UCSF, and we started to do a project together. We became friends, and then obviously Kevin left to Austin. When I had this idea I called him up and he’s like, “I don’t know.” Then I said, “Come on,” and then I basically called in a favor. He says, “Okay, let’s do this.” He agreed and he became the co-director, and he helped us tremendously with this. I could not have been able to do it without him, obviously.

Cunningham: He’s fantastic, and his talk was great as well. One hundred people you were imagining, 150 was your goal, and there was over 400. Obviously, this is happening next year, right?

Kain: Yes, it is happening next year. I don’t have a choice in the matter. I was told by the audience, next year, February. We’re trying to decide the location, and how large do we want it to be.

Cunningham: That would be my next question. Do you have a goal?

Kain: I better be careful now for last year’s goal of this year’s goal, maybe 500. I think that’s reasonable. Let’s see. I also want to make sure I’m not going to lose the intimate atmosphere that we have had, which really we achieved by having these general sessions and then putting people into tracts. Once they got into the three tracks, each group was only about 100, 150 people. It felt much better as a small conference. I want to maintain it, so I have to be careful with how much do I want to grow for next year.

Cunningham: Sure. The concept will be the same, where there are the general sessions and then there are those separate tracks?

Kain: Absolutely.

Cunningham: Love that.

Kain: Yeah, absolutely. The tracks likely will remain the same. One tract will be financial, one track will be operational, and one track will be clinical. The idea that people can jump between the lectures was phenomenal, because you had an orthopedic surgeon who went to a lecture on gain sharing, and the next lecture was about VT prophylaxis, and the next one was about how to set up a surgical home.

Cunningham: Then the next was about change.

Kain: The next was about change. They were just jumping from room to room. The one comment I got, and I will fix it, is that I did not allocate time to go between the rooms because I didn’t expect people to switch tracks that frequently, and it happened. Next year I’m going to have about a five-minute delay between each track so that people can move between the tracks. Of course, we had the app, and then so people with the app were able to move between the tracks. Which again, is pretty unique. Most conferences, if they have a track you start a track, you finish a track. This conference is, you can move in between, so you had 39 topics to choose from and you can change your mind halfway through a meeting.

Cunningham: Right, and there were people on Twitter, very active in each of those sessions, so if you weren’t in one you didn’t have too much FOMO because you kind of keep up what’s going on in the next session across the way.

Kain: That’s perfect.

Cunningham: In your favorite session, the last one, the panel, there was a great comment, and I can’t remember who made it. It was, “What do we do next?” She challenged the audience to take one piece of information and to make one change, no matter if it’s small or large, that they can do next week. What’s the change that you’re going to make next week in your practice, because you’re still practicing, that is a result of this conference?

Kain: That’s a great question. I’m going to pay more attention to our orthopedic nurses. They were included in the past, but I don’t think we included them enough. I really appreciated Colleen’s comment about how she feels that orthopedic nurses should function to the extent of their professional license. It’s right and I think it will save money to the system. It’s all about resource utilization. We really have to examine that, and I really think I’m going to focus on that.

Cunningham: I love it. See, everyone’s learning here. Dr. Kain, epic conference. Congratulations for putting this together. Great work and we are just so excited for next year. February 2018 can’t come soon enough.

Kain: Thank you so much, and thank you for all your help.

Cunningham: Absolutely.

Kain: Thank you.

Cunningham: We’re off. We’ll see you next year.

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