TeleSpine is a Swedish telemedicine program that provides pre- and post-surgical consultation services. During TeleSpine appointments a Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) spine surgeon conducts an evaluation of the appropriateness of surgery for patients experiencing pain in the lumbar, thoracic, cervical and craniocervical spine. TeleSpine is also available for post-procedure follow-up evaluations, which allows patients to remain in their local communities, rather than traveling to Seattle. At the SNI, the ultimate goal of all spine services, including consultations via TeleSpine, is to help each patient restore function and to improve the quality of their lives.
How Does TeleSpine Work?
Patients who may benefit from TeleSpine services include those who have a spinal deformity or have experienced a recent injury, as well as those who have had previous back surgeries that have not resolved the issue. TeleSpine evaluations support a cautious approach to surgical intervention, exhausting all non-surgical options and ensuring the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks.
Using secure, bi-directional video conferencing the SNI physician is able to conduct an exam facilitated by a telepresenter — a specially trained staff member who is present with the patient. The physician is able to access images taken locally and sent to Swedish, which helps the specialist make appropriate treatment recommendations.
Benefits of TeleSpine
TeleSpine supports patients and their families who do not have easy access to spine subspecialists. These initial consultations can provide various treat¬ment options for patients to consider and may reduce unnecessary travel in preparation for a surgical procedure. TeleSpine also builds collaboration between the spine specialists at the SNI and local physicians.
The board-certified spine subspecialists at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute comprise the TeleSpine team. They are nationally recognized experts in the treatment of a broad spectrum of spine disorders. They are involved in clinical research and sponsor the annual ONESpine course each year, which draws physicians from across the country.