The use of spinal MRI has been a topic of increasing popularity in the last few years due to it’s “gold standard” diagnostic reputation. This study from SPINE shows that the use of MRI has minimal significance on the clinical decision making of primary care physicians, and ultimately minimal correlation with the subsequent intervention.
The authors suggest the use of a non-surgical spine specific physician as the most effective way to manage these patients. In this episode we explore how you can use this knowledge to market your practice, build confidence, and gain additional referrals through appropriate communication.
The authors of the paper found-
“Specific findings on the index MRI scans (i.e. degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, ...) were not very predictive of subsequent consultation with a spine surgeon.”
“...among patients who received an MRI scan in the primary care setting, MRI scans almost always contain abnormal imaging findings, referral for surgical assessment is frequent, and subsequent surgery is infrequent.”
“MRI scan results do not discriminate very well between those who will and will not undergo surgery, suggesting that alternative models for the assessment of patients with spinal complaints in primary care should be explored...”
“Alternate models of health care delivery for individuals with spinal complaints, such as multidisciplinary spine assessment centers staffed by highly trained personnel, could potential result in more targeted use of MRI testing, may provide a more optimal pathway to transition patients from general practice to surgical care...”
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