Clinical Neurosciences Center

Spine Program Earns Highest Honors in National Survey

Program granted Institute-level designation in national Centers of Excellence survey

Meic SchmidtSALT LAKE CITY, September 23, 2010 – Back pain is as widespread as the common cold, yet treating back pain and spinal disorders is not a simple process. Spine care is increasingly complex, involving the need for specialty-trained providers with the technology and experience to accurately diagnose an individual’s condition and recommend treatment options. The Spine Program at the University of Utah Clinical Neurosciences & Spine Center has received recognition as a “Comprehensive Program” in the nation’s first-ever widespread survey of spine centers.

Chicago-based NeuStrategy conducted the Spine Center of Excellence (COE®) Survey, which surveyed over 100 hospitals across the United States and three international locations. The survey gauges an organizations’ capacity to provide effective, efficient spine care, differentiating Emerging Programs (EPs) from more-advanced, integrated Comprehensive Programs (CPs). The University’s Neurosciences Spine Program was recognized as an “Institute” level service, the highest commendation available and signifying the most advanced research, clinical programs and technology to support spine care.

“This data-intensive study reinforces how choosing the right spine care provider can significantly improve treatment and reduce long-term disability,” said Meic Schmidt, MD, Neurosurgeon and Chief of the Division of Spine Surgery at the University of Utah Clinical Neurosciences and Spine Center.  “We are pleased NeuStrategy recognizes our efforts to deliver comprehensive spine care.  The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that approximately 4.6 million Americans will require spine surgery, and we believe it is important to individually identify those people for whom surgery is the best option. 

The survey provides fundamental baseline measurements of the infrastructure and processes for comprehensive spine programs. “To create an effective program, the interests of patients, physicians and facilities need to align in a collaborative, quality-based model that produces measurable results,” explains Kevin Dunne, Partner of NeuStrategy. “The Spine COE Survey is the first step toward standardizing measures to define spine centers of excellence.”

“Back problems increase with age, so U.S. hospitals face a double-edged sword,” continues Dunne. ”The aging population will continue to drive up demand for expensive, new diagnostic and treatment technologies at a time when greater scrutiny is being placed on outcomes. Only spine centers that streamline access to care and provide excellent outcomes at a reasonable cost will be able to successfully reconcile these two conflicting interests.”

“Spine pain can result from injury, a congenital disorder or more commonly the simple, every-day effects of aging,” says Erica Bisson, MD, Neurosurgeon with the Spine Center.  “Our team approach helps us get patients  into the most effective treatment options to improve results. Approximately 1 in 10 individuals with back or neck pain will require surgery.  A comprehensive program like ours has the diagnostic tools and expertise necessary to individualize treatment and reduce pain.”

Learn more about the spine program here

Media Contact:

Dennis Jolley 801-585-7777 (office), 801-824-7217 (mobile),

Defining Comprehensive Spine Care – the Spine COE Survey White Paper can be forwarded upon request.


About University of Utah Health Care (

University of Utah Health Care is the Intermountain West’s only academic health care system, combining excellence in patient care, the latest in medical research, and teaching to provide leading-edge medicine in a caring and personal setting. It is consistently ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals, and its academic partners at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Health are internationally regarded research and teaching institutions.

About NeuStrategy, Inc. (

NeuStrategy, Inc. provides a broad spectrum of strategic, financial and operational support to health systems, physician practices and industry vendors focused on neuroscience, orthopedic and oncology services. The company focus is on products, services and partnerships that deliver the intelligence and resources needed to succeed in today’s complex healthcare environment.

Rooted in a legacy of specialized healthcare industry expertise, NeuStrategy principals and its team of advisory consultants have completed more than 150 customized neuroscience and related orthopedic and oncology healthcare engagements for academic and community health systems across the country.

“COE” is a registered trademark of NeuStrategy, Inc.