Professionalism in 21st century professional practice: autonomy and accountability in orthopaedic surgery.Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Oct; 467(10):2561-9.CO
Orthopaedic surgical practice is becoming increasingly complex. The rapid change in pace associated with new information and technologies, the physician-supplier relationship, the growing costs and growing gap between costs and reimbursements for orthopaedic surgical procedures, and the influences of advertising on the patient, challenge all involved in the delivery of orthopaedic care. This paper assesses the concepts of professionalism, autonomy, and accountability in the 21st century practice of orthopaedic surgery. These concepts are considered within the context of the complex value chain surrounding orthopaedic surgery and the changing forces influencing clinical decision making by the surgeon. A leading impetus for challenge to the autonomy of the orthopaedic surgeon has been cost. Mistrust and lack of understanding have characterized the physician-hospital relationship. Resource dependency has characterized the physician-supplier relationship. Accountability for the surgeon has increased. We suggest implant surgery involves shared decision making and "coproduction" between the orthopaedic surgeon and other stakeholders. The challenge for the profession is to redefine professionalism, accountability, and autonomy in the face of these changes and challenges.