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In the quest for more and better treatments, process is no longer enough. Everyone is seeking patient outcomes data, which is hard to find and difficult to collect—especially in a field where evidence is already sparse. In an effort to deliver quality outcomes data, NASS has committed to developing a spine outcomes registry. A diagnosis-based, multidisciplinary observational database, the registry would collect data to further understand spine care treatments and their resulting patient outcomes, as well as the natural history of spine disorders.

NASS has signed a contract with Outcomes, Inc. to develop a pilot to test its registry design and implementation. Anticipated to begin in July 2012, the pilot will evaluate the registry measures and quality of data collected as well as more practical features such as administrative burden and cost to participating practices. Many NASS board members and leadership have agreed to participate in the pilot as a show of support for the project. NASS has also drafted an IRB package that makes the case that as a quality improvement effort, participation does not necessarily require IRB approval.

Currently, measures and the IRB package are being finalized by NASS while Outcomes begins work on the platform. Once the 15 month pilot is completed, necessary revisions will be based on the results of the pilot. NASS will keep you up to speed on the progress of this important new project.