Multidisciplinary-decision approach decreases spinal fusion overuse: 3 observations

Written by Megan Wood | February 22, 2017 | Print  |

Seattle-based Virginia Mason Spine Clinic researchers studied whether a multidisciplinary team provided better care for lumbar spinal fusion patients.

The study involved 137 patients considering spinal fusion. Surgeons outside Virginia Mason recommended 100 of those patients for lumbar spinal fusion. A panel of physiatrists, neurosurgeons, nurses, physician assistants, pain specialists, orthopedic spine surgeons, anesthesiologists and physical therapists reviewed each case.


Spine published the study.


Here are three key observations:


1. Following the review of medical charts and relevant information for each patient, the multidisciplinary team found more than 58 percent of the patients would benefit more from non-operative treatments.


2. When not including a wide array of decision-markers, surgical decision-making may increase inappropriate treatment; waste healthcare resources and boost unnecessary costs.


3. The study authors concluded the multidisciplinary decision-making approach helps enhance spinal care and decrease surgery overutilization.


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