New Survey Helps Spine Centers Benchmark Services

Chicago-based NeuStrategy and San Diego-based SpineMark Corp. have released the results of their Spine COE® (Center of Excellence) Survey, a powerful new benchmarking tool to help define best practices in spine care, according to a joint news release.

Industry sources estimate 4.6 million Americans will need spine surgery at some point in their lives, and the costs associated with these surgeries continues to rise. Spine care programs across the country vary greatly, and the Spine COE Survey is one the first studies to examine the components that shape spine centers of excellence.

The Spine COE Survey measured the critical infrastructure of 99 spine care programs across 35 U.S. states and three international locations. Participating hospitals and practices can use the results to compare their program strengths, identify gaps and plan for improved delivery of spine care, according to the release.

"The Spine COE Survey is the first step toward standardizing measures to define spine centers of excellence," Kevin Dunne, a partner at NeuStrategy, said in the release.

The survey segments participating hospitals into two categories: emerging versus comprehensive programs. Comprehensive programs were found to offer:

•    Access to minimally invasive spine surgeries;
•    Use of clinical pathways and outcomes measurement;
•    Use of integrative medicine, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy and reflexology; and
•    Telemedicine services.

"The results of the survey prove that there is room for improvement in spine care. We have created a comprehensive care model that aligns the interests of patients, physicians and facilities to offer quality-based care with measurable results," Marcy Rogers, president and CEO of SpineMark, said in the release.

Participating organizations completed a web-based survey in the winter of 2008 and received a customized report card, detailing how their services compare with others across the country.

Hospitals are encouraged to participate in the Spine COE Survey, which is available online at and

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