September 22, 2020
Looking Back On Our Ten Years of Innovating the Orthopaedic Implant Industry
As The Orthopaedic Implant Company marks its tenth year in business, we look back at its inception, its core values, and what the future holds.
The Orthopaedic Implant Company turns ten this month. Double-digits is a pretty big deal, just ask any nine-year-old. The only thing that has grown faster than our implant portfolio and customer roster is our dedicated team of employees. Better healthcare value is easy to get behind. Leading healthcare value is revolutionary, especially in orthopaedics. Our starting line-up is chockful of professionals who have been committed to the mission of making US Healthcare better. Some are influenced by personal experiences, and others are just feeling good about doing good. This is the cornerstone of OIC. This is what has driven one company to go from a single product and a great idea to a national customer list and a comprehensive orthopaedic trauma implant portfolio in just ten years—an epic achievement in US Healthcare. As we turn ten, it’s only natural to pause and think about the genesis.
Where did it all begin?
Back in 2010, current President and CEO Itai Nemovicher was working as a sales manager for a big box brand in the orthopaedic implant space. While innovation was abound just ten years earlier, at that point devices had become commoditized, yet the pricing did not reflect that. Furthermore, he began to recognize how little value he contributed to the majority of cases he attended. It was undeniable that regardless of brand, a screw is a screw, a nail is a nail. How much value was there in having vendor representation in the OR? What’s it worth? Itai was convinced it wasn’t worth the sales expense, and he knew he could do better. The impetus for creating the company finally came one day when Itai got a call from a patient who received an implant manufactured by Itai’s vendor. This self-paying patient wanted to know why the cost of the implants was $120,000.
Itai had the same question.
A serial entrepreneur, Itai immediately asked himself: Wouldn’t it be something to provide high-quality implants at prices affordable for everyone? And the gears started turning.
At the same time, current OIC Chairman and Treasurer Dr. Pete Althausen was attending orthopaedic trauma cases in the Reno area. While he wasn’t particularly concerned with implant prices at the time, he knew changes in reimbursement were on the not-so-distant horizon. For years, Dr. Althausen had been watching out-of-pocket expenses rise quickly for patients. The system was headed for disaster. He also knew that sales representation in the OR did nothing for his patients and began wondering about the value that could be attained for patients if sales expenses were lowered. US Healthcare was just seeing the first light of the dawn of pay-for-performance care. It would not be enough to simply treat a patient clinically; surgeons were going to be held accountable to care for them financially as well.
Itai and Dr. Althausen had been working together for years in Reno. Having taken a liking to each other early on, and with both seeing the opportunity to improve value in orthopaedic devices, there was only one thing left to do: Make the best implants possible, and make them affordable. What started in Reno, Nevada, with a few simple implants and one enormous value-proposition is now a bona-fide market segment and category. Surgeons, ASCs, Community, Academic and Level 1 hospitals in all corners of the country call OIC a trusted partner.
Clinical studies have been published proving OIC’s clinical equivalency to premium-branded devices while delivering unheralded value. Administrators answer our calls and enjoy talking to us, asking about what else we have to help them. Surgeons are beginning to question pricing and are starting to ask all the right questions on behalf of their patients’ well-being.
OIC has always been a forward-thinking company. While we all enjoy the sentimentality of taking a walk down memory lane, it’s not in our DNA to applaud the past. US Healthcare is still in dire straits, so it’s natural for us to get fired up about what we will do going forward instead of looking in the rearview mirror.
As the leading high-value vendor in orthopaedics, we are privy to conversations around driving change. Broadly speaking, we are looking at a near future of increasing alignment between surgeons and facilities, all to the benefit of patients. While patients don’t know that high-value implants may be an option (nor are they thinking about that when they present with a broken hip in the ER), the decision to improve the value of supplies and services rendered will be made for them – true stewardship as defined by the Hippocratic Oath.
On the product front, there are a lot of designs in the pipeline. More indications to tackle. More premium pricing to erode. More impactful changes to be made. But as long as OIC’s success continues, there’s sure to be less pain for patients and a better direction for our healthcare system.
It’s certainly been an exciting start, but the future of OIC and its impact is far more gripping. Innovation has a new look and meaning in orthopaedic devices. Re-thinking what matters to patients has spurred the foundation and success of re-thinking how we can make the best implants for the best results with the best value. Helping people is what drives our innovation, and it’s just what the doctor ordered.