Our medical system has developed a model in which a primary care physician (PCP) serves to provide care for the majority of patients and conditions as well as to guide patients through the maze of health care. However PCPs are provided very little training specific to the spine during school and residency (Day Academic Medicine 2007; Skelley J Bone and Joint Surgery 2012). As a result, and through no fault of their own, these practitioners are ill-equipped to effectively and efficiently deal with spine related disorders (SRDs). Yet it has been estimated that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. If one adds mid-back and neck pain, nearly 100% of the population is affected. The direct costs associated with the care of back pain are estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars, with indirect costs (those associated with disability, lost work time) being x1 to x5 that much. We’re spending over $50 billion per year to evaluate and treat back pain, yet disability costs are rising exponentially! Therefore the health care system desperately needs a professional dedicated to primary care for patients with spine related disorders (SRDs) – a Primary Spine Practitioner (PSP).
What the health care system desperately needs is a portal of entry professional dedicated to the evaluation and management of common spine related complaints. As noted above, 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives, with a full ½ of these suffering sufficiently to seek health care intervention. Mid back and neck pain, while not as prevalent, contribute significantly to the population experiencing spine pain. Accountable care organizations are demanding that costs be managed while high quality is maintained, requiring a very judicious use of both evaluation and treatment modalities. This portal of entry provider, the primary spine practitioner (PSP), is very well trained to evaluate, and more importantly, manage the vast majority of patients presenting with spine related disorders (SRDs), triaging to advanced imaging and invasive modalities only when necessary and appropriate.
The current and future health care environment is demanding that costs be managed while high quality is maintained, requiring a very judicious use of both evaluation and treatment. A trained PSP can evaluate, and more importantly, manage the vast majority of patients presenting with spine related disorders (SRDs), triaging to advanced imaging and invasive modalities only when necessary and appropriate.
The Primary Spine Practitioner
The PSP is a professional who is specially trained to provide front-line management for patients with SRDs. The PSP has the skills necessary to provide differential diagnosis and management for the majority of patients with SRDs without the need for referral. In addition, this practitioner has the ability to recognize those relatively few patients who require special tests (radiography, MRI, laboratory workup) and invasive procedures (injections, surgery) and to serve as “captain of the spine team” for the purpose of providing counseling for the patient, coordination of care and long term follow up. Details regarding the benefits, necessary skills, and role of the PSP can be found in this article (click here)
The Primary Spine Practitioner Network (PSPN)
The PSPN was created to respond to the need for primary care services for patients with SRDs. The purpose of the PSPN is to identify, train and certify health care practitioners who can fill this role and additionally to establish primary spine care services throughout the healthcare system. If you are a hospital administrator, owner or manager of a medical practice, third party payor or aspiring PSP, please contact PSPN to find out how the PSPN can be of benefit to you.
Do you need help with implementing a comprehensive Spine Center? Would a spine continuum of care pathway help your health care system? Then visit our other company Spine Care Partners, LLC
Primary Spine Practioner (PSP) Recently Featured in Dynamic Chiropractic (click here for article)