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New Survey Takes Important Step in Defining Comprehensive Spine Programs

CHICAGO and SAN DIEGO, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- NeuStrategy, Inc., Chicago and SpineMark Corporation, San Diego announce the results of the nation's first-ever Spine Center of Excellence (COE(R)) Survey, a powerful new benchmarking tool to help define best practices in spine care. Currently back pain ranks among the leading reasons patients head to the doctor's office, and industry sources estimate 4.6 million Americans will need spine surgery at some point in their lives.

"While the cost of diagnosing and treating back and neck problems continues to rise, many patient care delivery systems are failing to show improved patient outcomes," explains Kevin Dunne, NeuStrategy Partner.

The Spine COE Survey measured the critical infrastructure of 99 spine care programs across 35 U.S. states and three international locations. Participating hospitals and practices are using the results to compare their program strengths, identify gaps and plan for improved delivery of spine care.

"The Spine COE Survey is the first step toward standardizing measures to define spine centers of excellence. Hospitals today must define themselves by programs that improve the quality of care and the services provided," explains Marcy Rogers, President and CEO of SpineMark. "The results of the survey prove that there is room for improvement in spine care. We have created a comprehensive care model that aligns the interests of patients, physicians and facilities to offer quality-based care with measurable results."

The newly released tool segments participating hospitals into two categories: Emerging (EP) versus Comprehensive programs (CP). In addition to exhibiting an interdisciplinary team in a focused environment, hospitals with an emphasis on tracking performance and quality achieve the highest ratings.

"Back problems increase with age, so U.S. hospitals face a double-edged sword," continues Dunne. "The aging population will continue to drive up demand for expensive, new diagnostic and treatment technologies at a time when greater scrutiny is being placed on outcomes. Only spine centers that streamline access to care and provide excellent outcomes at a reasonable cost will be able to successfully reconcile these two conflicting interests."

Together, NeuStrategy, Inc., healthcare strategists focused on neuroscience, orthopedic and oncology services, and SpineMark Corp., a spine care services organization that partners with hospitals and physicians to develop spine centers, worked with a panel of industry experts to identify the critical infrastructure components of spine centers. Fielded as a web-based survey in the winter of 2008, all responses are self-reported. Participating organizations received a customized report card, detailing how their services compare to others across the country.

Hospitals are encouraged to participate in the Spine COE Survey, which is available online at and

"COE" is a registered trademark of NeuStrategy, Inc.

SOURCE SpineMark Corporation; NeuStrategy, Inc.
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