Establishing a Spine Patient Registry

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Two primary medical specialties are joining their efforts to establish a clinical data registry for patients with injuries of the spine
Two primary medical specialties are joining their efforts to establish a clinical data registry for patients with injuries of the spine

Two primary medical specialties are joining their efforts to establish a clinical data registry for patients with injuries of the spine.

One of the most common health complaints, back pain affects more than 1 in 4 adults every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurosurgery serve a large portion of spine patients in the United States.

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) are creating the Spine Patient Registry to "support the collection and submission of quality data specific to spine patients and track these patients' outcomes over time."

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The associations expect the registry will follow both surgical and nonsurgical patients longitudinally, as well as collectively. There is an opportunity to advance the understanding of spine pain in patients, while demonstrating the quality and value of treatments, they believe.

"PM&R physicians practicing spine medicine currently represent the largest segment of our specialty and Academy membership," Gregory M. Worsowicz, MD, MBA, president of AAPM&R, said in in a statement. "Their work is critical for improving the health of the spine patient population as well as for the future of our specialty. Through this registry and data we seek to demonstrate the clinical expertise and impact PM&R physicians have on the lives of these patients. This unique collaboration with AANS also showcases a key to the physiatric approach to medicine: team-based care."

Designed to align to health care's shift toward value-based payments, the registry will require participating clinicians to meet reporting requirements, a direct result of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). Physicians who do meet reporting conditions will also be able to advance quality improvement and research needs.

"While we normally try all conservative options up-front, we may be able to predict which patients are destined to fail those interventions and we can go directly to some form of percutaneous or open surgical procedure to hopefully eliminate suffering quicker," AANS President H. Hunt Batjer, MD, FAANS, said in a statement. "As the database matures we will be able to communicate very directly with the patient and say 'we can predict that this treatment for you has an 85% chance of improving quality of life.' This knowledge will be empowering to physicians as well as patients."

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