Team-Based Approach Streamlines and Simplifies Spine Care

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences June 29, 2021
The Northwestern Medicine Center for Spine Health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital opened its doors on June 7. The clinic offers a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to care designed to eliminate confusion associated with seeking care for back, neck and spine problems. It is one of the only centers of its kind in the region that integrates orthopaedic surgery, neurological surgery and physical rehabilitative medicine in the same clinic to help ensure the best outcomes for patients.

The Center for Spine Health was developed based on feedback from patients and referring physicians. Alpesh A. Patel, MD, FACS, co-director of the Center for Spine Health and orthopaedic surgeon, says spine care can be fragmented and confusing.

“A number of subspecialties treat patients in need of spine care. Each looks at the problem with a different lens and offers different solutions,” he explains. In the past, Dr. Patel would see patients that had already spent substantial time and energy meeting with other specialists, conducting their own research on spine care and managing conflicting recommendations.

Now, instead of the patient or referring physician having the burden of deciding what path to take for their spine care, they simply need to call the Center for Spine Health. By hosting all spine services such as physical therapy, imaging and treatment in the same place, patients are given a single, seamless experience from start to finish. In addition, the shared location fosters improved interdisciplinary communications and coordination to match patient needs with team-driven solutions.

“The Center for Spine Health connects the patient with the right professional at the right time with our team-based model,” says Tyler R. Koski, MD, co-director of the Center for Spine Health and neurological surgeon. “We keep it simple from the start, and get to a level of knowledge and problem-solving quickly and consistently.”

NM’s Patients First mission was taken into consideration throughout the planning and execution of the clinic, including the construction of the new space. “At every step along the way, we brought in the patient perspective,” says Dr. Koski. “Everyone supported the decision that was best for our patients.”

“As someone who has had family with health problems and been in the hospital with them, I know ‘Patients First’ is easy to say and hard to deliver,” says. Dr. Patel. “It takes a team, critical thinking and transparent feedback. It was amazing to see how committed everyone was to our mission as we created the Center for Spine Health.”

In one location, specialists at the Center for Spine Health offer comprehensive care for back, neck and spine conditions, including surgical treatment options as well as nonsurgical options such as rehabilitation, physical therapy and spinal injections. Learn more and meet the team at the Center for Spine Health.

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