Outpatient spine clinic utilization reduces ED visits, study finds

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A study published in Spine examined the utilization rates and predictors of emergency department use after spine surgery.

Researchers queried Tricare claims to identify patients who underwent lumbar arthrodesis, discectomy or decompression procedures between 2006 and 2014. They studied the ED utilization at 30 and 90 days postoperatively.

Outpatient spine surgical clinic utilization was considered the primary predictor variable. Of the 48,868 patients in the study, 15 percent visited the ED 30 days post-discharge. After 90 days, 29 percent of patients visited the ED.

Of the patients who visited the ED 30 days post-discharge, however, 6 percent had complications and 5 percent were readmitted. At 90 days, 8 percent of patients who visited the ED showed complications and 8 percent were readmitted.

Study authors found the use of outpatient spine clinic services significantly reduced the likelihood of ED utilization at 30 and 90 days postoperatively.

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