Clinical Outcome Report Cards

While it’s common for physicians and hospitals to make claims about high quality, it’s rare for any to reveal data on patient satisfaction and clinical outcome. Finally, there are centers that publish credible data on a Clinical Outcome Report Card.

For 15 years, Prizm has been helping physician groups improve the quality of spine care by tracking clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. This data is then shared with medical directors of health plans, large employer benefit vice presidents and physician referral sources. To our knowledge, these are the ONLY spine centers in the nation to collect and then publish their clinical outcomes. And these are the ONLY spine centers to track outcomes with an RN who is not employed by the spine center or hospital involved. 

Tracking outcomes: The process of credible data collection

The trend in medicine is to explore non-surgical solutions to various health problems. The same trend is occurring in the area of spine care.

The TRUE definition of quality is reduction of variation about the mean. As quality experts note, unless you have data, you have no business talking about quality.

New patients coming into these spine centers complete an intake form that measures their pain level, severity of symptoms and functional status at the date of first appointment at the center. Three months after their first visit to the spine center, a nurse calls a random sample of these patients and interviews them for functional status, current symptoms and patient satisfaction. This is the most unbiased, statistically relevant method for outcomes analysis.

The clinical outcomes are then analyzed by an outside entity, rather than the spine center itself.

The results show that these regional spine centers receive at their front door the most complex patient base in their region. One in four new patients typically have had previous back surgery elsewhere. Half of all new patients have serious neurological symptoms like pain radiating beyond a knee or elbow, or numbness in a leg or arm — which typically implies a disc-related problem.

But even with the most complex incoming patient base, the majority of patients are treated without surgery. As to patient satisfaction, these center typically average over 90% for “very or somewhat satisfied” for all seven categories measured.

Quality is a journey, however, rather than a destination, and these spine centers are committed to continually improving.  Below are some of the Clinical Outcome Report Cards for these spine centers of excellence.  Click the Report Card below, and then the individual panels at the bottom to see the clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction scores.