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Archive December 2015 XVI, No. 12

Should You Add Same-Day Spine?

Building a spine program into the backbone of your schedule.

Laurie LaPenotiere, MSN, RN

BIO

minimally invasive spine procedures LET'S SEE SOME SPINE Minimally invasive spine procedures offer stability and relief with less trauma and shorter recoveries.

The arrival of a new neurosurgeon at our surgery center a few years ago opened our doors to outpatient spine surgery. If you've considered the specialty, you know the advantages that minimally invasive pain management and spine stabilization cases hold over open procedures and hospital settings. But you probably also recognize the challenges you'll face in adding them. I'm here to tell you that minimally invasive pain relief is within your reach.

Which cases should we consider?
As the outpatient migration of certain spine procedures trends nationwide and is eagerly discussed by your provider peers at the latest conferences, it's easy to ask yourself, "Should we be offering these at our surgery center?" Identifying which cases present ideal opportunities comes down to throughput. Procedures that don't take long and that can be turned over quickly make for an efficient, service-oriented schedule. That's not to say that patients are just products on an assembly line. They like speedy surgeries and discharges as much as physicians do. So choose for patient convenience and experience as well.

Keep in mind, though, that you're bringing the procedures on board as a new revenue stream, so it's important to assess the costs in light of their reimbursement rates (see "Can We Profit From Outpatient Spine?" on page 69). Just as you don't want to see physicians waiting to start their cases, you don't want case costs to swamp your profits before a procedure even begins.

Pain management procedures are a great place to start. Spinal injections and pain stimulator placements — for both trial and permanent implants — are relatively simple operations and can build a base for your service line. These cases are patient-satisfiers, not to mention lucrative business.

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