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BACK PAIN: Inside look at Mass General Hospital’s service

This article is primarily about how to redesign the care model in a health care system from a fee-for-service model to an accountable care model.  However, it is chock full of interesting statistics based on the experience of Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston).  Here are some of these statistics.

  • Costs associated with outpatient care of back pain: 35% injections, 21% physical therapy (PT), 20% diagnostic imaging, 13% office visits.
  • Average visits made by back pain patients: 2.8 visits over 2 years
  • Average PT visits made by back pain patients: 4 visits over 2 years
  • Average injections received by back pain patients: 3 injections over 2 years
  • Average imaging studies on back pain patients: 0.7 imaging studies over 2 years
  • 90 percent of inpatient admissions of nonsurgical back pain come through the emergency department

One of the significant changes that Mass General has made related to patients with nonsurgical back pain has been to send them to observation instead of admitting them for inpatient care.

Source: Gilligan, C.  Care redesign.  American Society of Anesthesiologists Newsletter;78(1):14-16, Jan. 2014.  Click here for access to this article: https://www.asahq.org/sitecore/content/Home/For%20Members/Publications%20and%20Research/Newsletter%20Articles/2014/January%202014  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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