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Clinical Outcomes

TriCities SpineThe TRUE definition of quality is reduction of variation about the mean. As quality experts note, unless you have data, you have no business talking about quality. TriCities Spine is a work in progress with the goal of improving how we care for back and neck patients over the next year. We will also be tracking and publishing spine clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, which is already in process.

New patients coming into TriCities Spine will complete an intake form that measures their pain level, severity of symptoms and functional status. Three months after their first visit, a nurse will call a random sample of these patients and interview them for functional status, current symptoms and patient satisfaction. This is the most unbiased, statistically relevant method for outcomes analysis.

The clinical outcomes are then analyzed by an outside firm that specializes in tracking spine outcomes, and is involved with other spine centers across the U.S. The following is the type of information that will be measured and published about TriCities Spine in the future.

Highlight of Clinical Outcome Measures:

  • New patient severity
  • Percent of patients that receive therapy (either at TriCities Spine or elsewhere) as a part of their care
  • Percent of patients (acute and chronic) who return to work or activity
  • Percent of patients taking 5 or more pills daily for pain relief after treatment
  • Percent of patients who would recommend the clinic to a friend or relative

Quality is a journey, however, rather than a destination, and we are committed to continually improving. The clinical outcome and patient satisfaction data we publish will document our footprints on that journey.

Clinical Outcomes Report Card


TriCities Spine in Bristol, TN is a by-product of discussions with case managers, rehab nurses and managed care experts on a local and national level who believe that spine care can be improved through a multidisciplinary team approach. TriCities Spine includes a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in spine, Dr. Jim Brasfield, teamed with a pain management specialist and spine-specialized physical therapy. TriCities Spine physicians already see a variety of complex cases from across Eastern Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. TriCities Spine emphasizes a nonsurgical approach to back pain, recognizing that in most cases spine surgery should be the last card to be played after nonsurgical options have been tried. About half of patients are referred to TriCities Spine by other doctors in the region. TriCities Spine also cares for those who injure themselves at the workplace. The strength of TriCities Spine lies in the medical expertise brought in by a variety of specialists who complement each other, including experts in physical medicine and neurosurgery. An internal pain specialist is often able to relieve some back and neck pain symptoms with special injections that enable a patient to bridge to therapy. Dr. Fred Terry specializes in pain relieving lumbar spinal injections and as well as myelograms, which may reveal the amount of damage in the spine. Therapists who specialize in spine use customized hands-on treatments to relieve pain symptoms, along with special exercises to help make the back stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury. If nonsurgical treatments are not successful, Dr. Jim Brasfield is trained and proficient in the latest techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery. Because of the minimally invasive techniques used by Dr. Brasfield, many patients are able to have their spine surgery and then return home the same day to recover in the comfort of their own home.