“In order to prove or disprove the effectiveness of spine treatments, the spine field needs to gather evidence,” said Zoher Ghogawala, M.D., FACS, NASS Research Council director. “With its national reach and comprehensive nature, the NASS Spine Registry will help the spine care field make substantial progress on improving quality, developing best practices, and closing the gaps in medical evidence for spine care.”
From the initial idea to the implementation of a pilot program, the NASS Spine Registry was developed over the past eight years. NASS has made every effort to minimize potential barriers to participation, including cost, privacy concerns, administrative burden, and institutional review board (IRB) participation.
“The really exciting and unique thing about the NASS registry is that it is multidisciplinary,” said Daniel Resnick, M.D., M.S., NASS president and chair of the NASS Registry Committee. “Despite the fact that more than 90 percent of spine care is managed without surgery, most existing registries are focused around surgical specialties or procedures. Thanks to the comprehensive nature of this registry, we will be able to see what care approaches are actually helping patients restore their function and reduce pain.”
Any spine care provider, including physicians or allied health professionals, regardless of specialty, setting, or medical/surgical orientation, can participate in the NASS Registry. There is no software to purchase, no dedicated coordinator required, and participants do not need to be NASS members. At $3,250 for the first participant per practice site, registry participation is affordable for all practice types and sizes―from the largest health systems to solo practitioners. Each subsequent participant per practice is $300 for a year.
Registry participants will receive confidential feedback on their patient care and will have access to reports with benchmarking against their peers through the de-identified, aggregate data. They will be able to download real-time reports at their convenience to see results. The data collected include demographics, diagnosis, treatment, complications, and patient-reported outcomes. The data are de-identified at the point of entry and no personal information reaches NASS or its data vendor, Ortech Systems Inc. Each participant owns its own data and NASS owns the aggregate, de-identified data.
“One great thing about this registry design is that it requires the active participation of the most important people in health care, our patients,” said Resnick. “Each time a patient enters their data, they will be able to see how they are progressing over time. There will also be links to helpful education information for them to use.”
In its initial phase, the registry will be focused on capturing data on U.S. patients over 18 years of age who are being treated for lumbar spine conditions, including low back pain, lumbar disc herniation, lumbar radiculopathy, lumbar facet syndrome, lumbar spondylolisthesis, lumbar scoliosis, lumbar instability, and lumbar stenosis.
The NASS Spine Registry is owned by NASS, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. NASS is a global multidisciplinary medical society that utilizes education, research and advocacy to foster the highest quality, ethical, value- and evidence-based spine care for patients. NASS is comprised of more than 8,000 members from several disciplines, including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, physiatry, neurology, radiology, anesthesiology, research and physical therapy.