Proactive. That is the word on my mind for this newsletter. We as members of ASPN, ISPN, and the overall healthcare community with concerns of patient access and safety need a new motto and that, in my opinion, is “Proactive.” It is time to consider the unfortunate and coordinated misinformation coming from those with misguided goals to undermine new, less invasive, safer, less expensive, and more effective means of treating those with spine, nerve, and joint disorders.
We have spent the past several years responding to poorly designed studies on radiofrequency ablation from Europe, very unfortunate and poor science from Norway, and—even worse—biased and potentially harmful Cochrane analysis and JAMA Neurology articles with heavy bias in authorship for those working for a profit-driven insurance conglomeration. These responses, of which I have been a part of, have done a service to correct misperceptions, point out design flaws, and open the discussion on reverse bias of insurance. On separate fronts, we have had “turf battles,” oftentimes driven by those in different specialties that involve maintaining a more invasive yet higher risk procedure, “because that is how we do it.” This has led to patient harm and limited access. It is now time to be proactive on all of these fronts.
This is a call for all who care about patient efficacy, safety, and access, to become more proactive and less reactive. We need more evidence creation on all fronts from registries to big data to prospective multicenter randomized trials to office-based practice outcome data. This data should drive us in the best direction for care and lead to modifications in the treatment of those who are in need. This information can also drive product development, coding, reimbursement, and the overall patient care pathway.
In addition, we need to drive collaboration for all specialties who are stakeholders in this process. From Interventional Pain to Ortho Spine to Neurosurgery to Interventional Radiology and others who want to make an impact. ASPN is committed to this goal and the desire to take a path where all have a voice, and we work together to offer the appropriate procedures, based on a patient-focused goal. This can only happen when all of these groups analyze data together and make the correct decisions in a consensus fashion. This is part of the NEURON process to create living guidelines to improve care and make us all better healthcare professionals.
See y’all in Miami.