This past week I was responsible for our annual Regenexx network conference, chairing the IOF conference, and organizing a bone marrow aspirate cadaver course. I’m pretty exhausted, but a common question I was asked several times over the past few days inspired this morning’s blog. That was, “What is Regenexx?”. The more I answered that question, the more an apt analogy formed. Regenexx is a lot like Ferrari and very much unlike GM. Let me explain.
Ferrari is an interesting company. Unlike other car manufacturers like GM or Ford that sought to build mass market cars for the masses, Ferrari was a race car team that eventually decided to produce the fastest cars money could buy. For example, one of the reasons that Ferrari has dominated racing circles like F1 for so long is that it only cares about what gets it around the track faster. New technology fads come and go, but only those that meet Ferrari’s rigorous testing get adopted into it’s race cars. It could care less if a tech is sexy sounding or if 5 other teams have bought on, it’s only about how it performs on the track. Ferrari’s reputation has been grown around that concept. You know when you see Ferrari on the street that it’s a special car, one that’s bred from the ground up to go as fast as possible. This is exactly like Regenexx in that our goal is to maximize outcomes with cell based therapies in orthopedic care and we really don’t care about how sexy a technology is, just whether it actually works.
First, if you want to be a professional driver for Ferrari, you had better be good and have a certain set of advanced skills. In the same way, the Regenexx network turns down more doctors than it accepts, as it requires skills that not many doctors possess. Next, you have to learn certain additional skills. In the same way the Regenexx network has a list of almost 100 seperate interventional orthopedics procedures organized by body area that you need to learn. For example, there are about 10 of these for just the wrist and the hand! Next, Ferrari gets approached by many vendors with new technologies which it vets itself. If it doesn’t get them around the track any faster, they don’t use it, despite the hype it may be receiving. In the same way, we get approached by countless vendors offering the next miracle cure or better widget, but if it isn’t for real after our testing, despite it’s hype, we don’t adopt it. Here’s a short list of the technologies we’ve vetted in the last several years in our advanced Colorado lab:
- A mechanical fat emulsifier that physicians were claiming was able to isolate stem cells from fat. It didn’t work.
- A vibration assisted liposuction machine that made the same claim – it didn’t work.
- Amniotic “stem cell” products that we were able to show contained no cells, let alone stem cells.
- A device for increasing stem cell yield from bone marrow – it also didn’t work to meet our specs of an increased stem cell yield.
We tested these things at our expense, to see if they could help us help improve outcomes. This is quite different from physicians who accept money from manufacturers to test their technology or to feature their technology in their practices. In the former situation, all that matters is that the tech works, in the latter, all that matters is if the check from the manufacturer clears the bank! Believe me, if any of these technologies had actually worked, we have been excited to incorporate them.
Regenexx like Ferrari also has a world class team of scientists that develop it’s own technology. Our advanced Colorado research lab works all day, every day on tweaking what we do to provide better outcomes. Not only won’t you find a network of physicians that has the ability to test outside technology, but even more rarely do physicians develop their own tech. They simply don’t have the resources. Not so at Regenexx.
Ferrari has many tools it uses to test outcomes. Advanced sensor packages, test tracks, advanced software, etc… In a similar way, Regenexx uses advanced technology to track outcomes in our registry. We also perform randomized controlled trials to ensure that the next level of rigorous clinical testing is met. We use advanced tools like MRI and ultrasound to augment those measurements. We’re now advancing well beyond everyone else in using sophisticated cytokine and growth factor testing with microarray muliplex ELISA to further tweak our arthritis procedure results with more objective measures. Other networks barely measure outcomes, at Regenexx we’re measuring outcomes with tools that other physicians barely understand.
So what is Regenexx? It’s a group of doctors with advanced skills who have banded together for one goal – to continuously improve clinical outcomes in orthopedic stem cell treatments. Like Ferrari, we just don’t care about what’s trendy, as if it can’t pass our rigorous tests, it’s a non-starter. Because we put patient outcomes above all else, we can’t be tied to a specific technology as that technology may be quickly surpassed by something better. Hence, rather than “one trick pony/one sized fits all” bedside machines, all of our doctors use an in house flexible lab platform that can deploy the latest and greatest technology. Like Ferrari, we continuously test and improve what we do and this new technology is deployed in those labs, once it meets our strict testing criteria.
The upshot? Regenexx is different from the ground up. While other clinics feature doctors that may be well or poorly trained (as a consumer you have no way to tell), we vet every physician for certain skills. Like Ferrari, we really don’t care if he or she has a fancy title, if that guy or gal has the skills to get around the track faster, he or she is on our team. Also like Ferrari, we constantly vet technology. While other clinics may adopt something with no testing solely based on what a sales rep sold them, we never deploy technology without first checking those claims. At the end of the day, just as Ferrari can’t always guarantee that it can win the F1 series, it can guarantee that the drivers and technology it deploys are top notch. So like Ferrari, Regenexx can guarantee that it uses and continuously tweaks carefully vetted technology deployed by highly trained physicians to stack the deck as much as feasible toward a winning result!