Exploring the Mind of Leading Medical Expert and Bronx Native, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum serves as the Chairman and Director of Orthopaedics at Bronxcare Health System in New York City, New York. We interviewed him to learn more about his secrets to productivity, favorite books, and his day to day life.

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum is the chairman of orthopedics at the BronxCare Health System and he doesn’t just care for his patients. Dr. Kirschenbaum shows how the combination of hard work, talent, thoroughness, and strong relationships with patients can lead to medical excellence and breakthrough care.

 

Dr. Kirschenbaum’s career has been unique and noteworthy.  His professional path has taken many exciting twists and unexpected turns. He has been associated with information technology, business management, nonprofit leadership, process re-engineering, and much more which have all assisted in his well rounded approach to leadership and his practice

 

Early Career 

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum helped create an online company called Prodigy Communications Corporation, which IBM and Sears jointly owned, way back in 1988. Prodigy provided its subscribers with information on news, weather, travel, banking, and all kinds of other topics, including medical subjects. Dr. Kirschenbaum left Prodigy in 1991.  Dr. Kirschenbaum also worked at Gnu Image. Gnu produced sophisticated programs for graphics editing.

In 1991, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum became a consultant for Stryker Corporation, and remained in this role until 2015. Stryker is a Michigan-based medical technology company. While affiliated with Stryker, he advised in areas such as implant design, data storage, and marketing.

During the mid-1990s, Dr. Kirschenbaum  served as the Executive Director of Orthopaedics for Medscape, (formerly known as BoneHone) a website that supplies doctors and other healthcare providers with educational materials. With this resource, medical professionals were able to expand their knowledge base and stay up to date with industry news.

Medscape went on to be acquired by GE and is now owned by WebMD, where he later served as an editor and writer from 2004 until 2008.

From 1991 to 1995, he worked for the Kaiser Permanente consortium in two roles: chief of adult reconstructive surgery and director of orthopedic resource management. In those positions, he developed strategies for allocating resources, and he put together new joint replacement programs. Dr. Kirschenbaum’s efforts went on to win a Vohs Award for Quality.

Before his time at Bronxcare Health System, Dr Ira. Kirschenbaum worked at his own private practice from 2000 until 2008, where he managed to perform over 500 surgeries a year.  He also took his love for writing and learning to WebMD where he served as a Blog Editor, Message Board Editor, and Orthopaedic Community Editor on the Expert Panel.

In addition, he was associated with the RAND Corporation, in which he served on the health information technology panel from 2011-2012.

Dr. Kirschenbaum has shown impressive innovation and leadership skills over the years and has developed new procedures and systems to help patients heal.

 

Current Endeavors

 

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum remains dedicated to the work he does as he continues to partner with companies and boards on top of his position at Bronxcare Health System.

As an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Kirschenbaum specializes in hip, knee, and shoulder replacements and joint and bone issues. Over the years, he has helped to pioneer new methods of replacing joints and treating sports injuries.  In addition, he has replaced thousands of joints since he left medical school, and the Consumers’ Research Council of America has designated him a Top Surgeon.

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum has been the chairman of orthopedics at the BronxCare Health System since 2008. From 2016 until mid 2018, he was BronxCare’s Director of Surgical Operations. This Orthopedic department handles about 1,800 surgical operations, and it provides care to more than 40,000 people.

The BronxCare Health System originated in 1890, but was called Lebanon Hospital for decades. In 1962 it joined forces with the Bronx Hospital, and this new nonprofit took the BronxCare name. BronxCare now operates two hospitals, and its patients primarily come from the South Bronx and the Central Bronx. The BronxCare Health System also has a network of associated medical facilities.

During his tenure at BronxCare, he has assisted in providing considerable growth. The organization now performs eight times as many surgeries and 10 times as many outpatient services as it did before he arrived.

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum is a member of several illustrious professional organizations including the Orthopaedic Research Society, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

On top of his current position, he is the Advisory Chief Technology Officer for the Swiftpath Program, a surgical episode of care consulting and management deployment that allows for a more pleasant surgical operation and healing process for patients. He also serves as a Managing Partner for Sprocket Health, a client to specialist referral tool.

Since 2010, he has also been the Chief Medical Officer for DTC Health Com. This is a medical information technology firm that produces products and apps to improve productivity and process management. He went back to work with Medscape in 2013 on the Editorial Advisory Board after being a Founding Executive Director years earlier.

 

Education

Dr. Kirschenbaum earned a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from Brown University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1979. He later went on to finish his medical and orthopaedic education at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in the Bronx. During his residency he got to partake in research on cartilage growth with Dr. David Hamerman and worked with the Cambodian Relief Committee.

He completed his residency at Montefiore Medical Center between 1986 and 1990. and focuses on growing his knowledge in the field. He later completed his fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University – the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, where he trained in Adult Reconstructive Orthopaedic Surgery. This is where he began to focus specifically on knee and hip replacement. The advances he has made in his field have earned him the respect, trust, and admiration of other leading experts in the medical industry.

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum also continues his executive education today by partaking in courses at Harvard Business School. In 2011 and 2012, he studied Management in Healthcare Delivery. In addition, he took a course over Value Measurement in Healthcare in 2018.

He has given speeches and submitted publications about Orthopaedics that have advanced the way doctors treat patients. Despite everything he has achieved during his career, Dr. Kirschenbaum is committed to keeping an open mind and continues learning.

 

Common Questions

We sat down with Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum to hear his answers to common questions people may have about time management, information technology, and Orthopaedics.

 

Where did you get the idea for BoneHone? 

Some people approach Dr. Kirschenbaum and ask where he got his idea to start BoneHone. He attributes many things to the creation of the site but says his time at Medscape stands out more than anything else.

He launched the business with the goal of advancing his career while helping people find viable treatment options. The mission of serving others is one of the biggest things to which Kirschenbaum owes his success. Serving others and providing real value to those who need it is the foundation on which any business thrives.

He elaborated, “I helped bring this website to life, because the idea was brought up by Medscape due to Medscape Orthopaedics.”

 

What does your day to day look like? How do you go about making it more productive?

Giving speeches, coming up with new treatment systems and helping patients can take up a lot of time, effort and energy. People often wonder how Kirschenbaum makes enough time to fit everything into his schedule.

Dr. Kirschenbaum says he works to devote various parts of the day to key tasks he needs to complete. As an example, ” I start each morning by checking my emails and going through my social media feeds– especially Linkedin. Doing so ensures I’m updated on the latest trends in my industry and medical news.”

When he comes to work, he prefers to be early, as he begins his day by going over the scheduled agenda. His days tend to differ based on the duties he has to face. “Some days I see one of my patients, some days I focus on patient-centered value improvement projects.”

His mornings are usually rigid and focus on maintaining communication with the doctors on staff. At the beginning of a new week, he usually chooses to plan out each day according to the demands he has to meet first. He checks in with top administrators in the morning and usually has meetings with doctors and staff throughout the day.

His schedule is typically full of meetings. Since his initial years as a doctor, he has placed a premium on open, frequent, and direct workplace communication. He believes that such honest dialogue is essential to providing optimal healthcare. When doctors, surgeons, and their staff members aren’t frequently in touch with one another, misunderstandings, mistakes, and redundancies can easily arise.

Dr. Kirshenbaum has his patients’ best interest in mind and often puts them first when planning out his day to day activities. With all the business of leading an entire apartment, he uses a variety of tools to assist him along the way. He elaborated on the dealing with the obstacles of day to day life. Constantly having to make appointments can be stressful, so to improve communication efforts with patients he says, “I use a helpful tool called Calendy.com; it allows for people to book appointments with me throughout the week.”

Of course, not all meetings are high in quality or productivity. For that reason, Dr. Kirschenbaum insists that all of his conferences have a clear purpose at the outset. Then, throughout the proceedings, he makes sure that everyone stays focused on the goals at hand.

 

How do YOU bring ideas to life?

Almost everyone has great ideas that have the potential to change the world and the people in it, but most people remain passive and never do anything about it. If you ask Dr. Kirschenbaum how he brings his ideas to life, he will tell you the first step is to come up with an idea and a way to execute it.

The next part is to distribute the idea so that others can take advantage of the benefits it offers, but that is not even the most vital element. According to him, “Surrounding yourself with people who believe in your idea and how it can improve the world is the most important factor.”

 

 

What is one trend that inspires you?

Even though he is successful as an entrepreneur and medical expert, Kirschenbaum is not afraid to admit that trends still inspire him. As far as Dr. Kirschenbaum is concerned, the most inspirational trends are ones that offer real value to patients. He looks forward to learning about advances that let people improve their health without breaking their budget.

 

 

What is one piece of advice you would give your eighteen-year-old self?

Most people wish they could go back in time with the information they now have so that they could avoid mistakes and improve their results. Ira Kirschenbaum is no exception to that rule.

 

If he could go back and speak with his younger self, he would remind himself that other people have taken the road his younger self is now following. He would urge his younger self to find those people and to learn from them. No matter who you are or how good you might be, mentors are a valuable resource you can never overlook. He states,  “Always realize there is someone out there who is doing what you want to do, but better. Find that person and learn from them.”

 

What is the best $100 you have spent recently? What about that purchase has helped you?

If you are like most people, you have made both wise and foolish investments with your money. Even the most talented experts in the world make poor decisions on occasion. They also make wise choices that improve their lives more than they once thought possible.

Some people may choose to invest in frivolous things, while others choose to invest in themselves. Reading is an excellent way to take time out of a busy schedule to focus on learning a new skill or escaping into a new story.

Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum says the best $100 he has spent recently was on audio books. They allow him to learn while he is driving, working out or doing anything else that prevents him from reading standard books. There is always something to be learned, even the creativity of fiction books can inspire or help you connect the dots to a problem you are solving.  He added, “Reading key nonfiction and fiction literature has been crucial for me, and is a huge contributor for success” he added.

Out of all the audiobooks he has listened to recently, Dr. Kirschenbaum recommends Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. He added on, “It’s a remarkable book that analyzes the science behind rapid decision making.”

 

What is one thing you believe to be true, but very few people agree with you on?

As a health care professional, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum faces tragedy on the regular. Although healthcare prices are rising, he believes there is room for strong changes in the future. “While many people think we have a health care crisis, I see positive change coming” he stated.

He believes in value-based healthcare which primarily focuses on the quality of care that patients get and the results they attain. Under this system, the amount of money that people pay for their medical care would depend on the outcomes of their treatment. By contrast, many patients today pay the same amount for the same treatment no matter what ultimately happens to their health.

Nonetheless, he remains positive and enthusiastic about the future of medicine. He still has the energy and drive of his youth, and has no plans to slow down anytime soon. He and his staff members have proven that attentive healthcare and cutting-edge methodologies can yield the most favorable results possible.  He and his team work tirelessly toward finding new methods that will profoundly benefit generations to come.

 

What is one quote you live on?

You likely have favorite quotes you have heard that inspire you to keep moving toward your goals. If you don’t have any quotes that help you, take a few of Kirschenbaum’s favorites into consideration. When asked this question, he gave us three to go by.

“Don’t regret where you have been if you like where you are.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I am sure they were working every day to build it.”

“I am not in the business of building a better mousetrap; I am in the business of catching mice.”

 

Final Thoughts

Not only is Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum a medical expert, but he is also an inspirational entrepreneur who can achieve almost anything to which he sets his mind. His ideas and innovative spirit have created systems that make people’s lives much easier, and allowing patients to achieve a better quality of life is one of his main goals.

 

The way he approaches his daily life holds secrets almost anyone can use to take their results to a whole new level. Even though he has already done so much for the medical world, Kirschenbaum still looks to the future with a hopeful eye.

 

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