REHABILITATION, PSYCHOLOGY SERVICES A MAJOR PART OF NEWLY OPENED MEDSTAR SPINE CENTER AT CHEVY CHASE
In August, the doors opened on the new MedStar Spine Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland—the area’s first and only multidisciplinary center for people suffering back and neck pain.
August 10, 2015
CHEVY CHASE, MD – Aug. 10, 2015 – In August, the doors opened on the new MedStar Spine Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland—the area’s first and only multidisciplinary center for people suffering back and neck pain. The center’s staff of MedStar NRH physiatrists, neurosurgeons and orthopaedic spine surgeons from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and physical therapists work collaboratively to provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment for spinal problems—from common back pain to complex congenital deformities.
A team of highly skilled and experienced spine experts have been gathered together in a single location, on the same floor as the MedStar Health Ambulatory Care Center. This gives patients convenient access to an array of services and a diverse team of medical specialists.
“We’ve developed a streamlined process that speeds delivery of comprehensive surgical and non-surgical spine care,” says Bobby Kalantar, MD, associate professor of spinal surgery at MedStar Georgetown and co-director of the Medstar Spine Center. He and MedStar Georgetown Neuro-spine Surgeon and Co-Director Faheem Sandhu, MD, PhD, have developed the care model for the center, which emphasizes collaboration between sub-specialty surgeons, rehabilitation physicians and physical therapists on site. The model of care has been designed to deliver services more efficiently by matching patients to the correct specialist from the very start. “We’ve developed a triage system using trained individuals who respond to phone inquiries by patients and referring physicians,” Edwin Numsuwan MD, MedStar NRH Interventional spine expert and on-site physiatrist. “An algorithm of questions helps to ensure that a patient’s first visit is with the most appropriate physician.” “The central scheduling system, the fact that our offices are next to one another—and [that] a consult can occur by walking down the hall—just makes sense for patients,” says Dr. Kalantar. “We’re eliminating all the time that can be wasted as patients struggle to make appointments and travel from one specialist to the next trying to find the right person to treat their spine problem,” he adds.
The center’s team represents the full spectrum of specialized expertise. Physicians can direct patients to the team member whose clinical interests and training are compatible to the patients’ diagnoses, no matter what it may be—everything from a complex spinal tumor and common disc issues--to pediatric spine disorders.
“Most of us have been working collaboratively together for a number of years,” says Dr. Kalantar. “Now we’re consolidating that partnership for more effective patient outcomes. In addition to providing easy access to a variety of medical and surgical specialists, the center also provides imaging services and state-of-the-art interventional spine injections all in the same location.
“Patients for whom physical therapy is the best treatment option—and those who require therapy after surgery—can receive their PT evaluation at the center, and their follow-up sessions at any one of the 50 MedStar NRH outpatient locations,” explains John Brickley, vice president for ambulatory operations & network development for MedStar NRH. “And no matter which center they utilize, their spine physician will continue to follow their care.”
“It’s all about finding the right solution for each individual patient,” says Dr. Kalantar. “And we share the belief that the best option is the least invasive.”
“Treatment is evidence-based and focused on improving patients’ quality of life,” Dr. Numsuwan adds. “Spinal pain is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the doctor—second only to the common cold. We think the system we have developed helps to cut down on unnecessary doctor’s visits—and will ultimately improve patient outcomes.”
Research Data Collection
The center’s medical team will also be conducting research to help clarify the most effective treatment regimens. “We’re making a real investment in data collection to look at the big picture,” explains Dr. Numsuwan.
“Patients will be followed over time to evaluate the status of their health. We will look at quality of life and pain levels, among other criteria. This information should be invaluable to helping us better tailor treatments to patient needs,” he adds.
With millions of baby boomers coming of age—and an active younger adult population—spinal problems are on an upward trajectory,’ says Brickley.
“We’re responding to a growing health need in an innovative way, and understand that spinal pain is often misdiagnosed and mistreated,” he adds. “This model center creates a hub for spine services to help prevent costly, inappropriate care—and give patients what they need most, when they need it.”
In addition, Psychology services will also be part of the new Spine Center. Philip Appel, PhD, director of Psychology & Neuropsychology Services for MedStar NRH Rehabilitation Network, says the Center will be using an integrative philosophy of care and dealing with the whole person. “Not only with a patient’s medical conditions, but their adjustment to such and helping to foster their well-being in spite of their pain and disability,” he said.
MedStar Georgetown Spine Center in Brief
Center’s Team of Spine Specialists
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