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Current & Critical

NASS Launches Multidisciplinary Spine Registry: Here’s what OEMs need to know

To measure and improve patient care, The North American Spine Society (NASS) has launched a diagnosis-based clinical data registry to track outcomes. The web-based platform will allow healthcare providers to collect and analyze their spine care data and compare it to the de-identified data in the entire registry.

In its initial phase, the registry will capture data on U.S. patients over 18 years old who are undergoing treatment for lumbar spine conditions. Participation is open to any spine care provider, including physicians or allied health professionals, regardless of specialty, setting or medical/surgical orientation.

We sought comments from Dr. Daniel Resnick, M.D., MS, NASS President and chair of the registry committee, on the importance of looking at diagnoses vs. procedures in spine care, and on ways that OEMs can get involved.

What makes a diagnosis-specific registry a more useful approach than a procedure-specific model?

Dr. Resnick: Most registries are procedure-specific, which is a narrower view of care. The diagnostic approach allows physicians and allied health providers of all specialties to participate and to measure real-world comprehensive spine care of patients, rather than a specific procedure.

(In prepared remarks given in the registry launch press release, Dr. Resnick said, “Despite the fact that more than 90% of spine care is managed without surgery, most existing registries are focused around surgical specialties or procedures. Thanks to the comprehensive nature of this registry, we will be able to see what care approaches are actually helping patients restore their function and reduce pain.”)

In its initial phase, the registry is focusing on lumbar conditions. What about future phases? What will they focus on, and when will they launch?

Dr. Resnick: The current lumbar measures are part of the core measure set. Future plans exist to incorporate cervical and thoracic spine, along with additional measures for all three focus areas (lumbar, cervical and thoracic). The timeline for these additions is under discussion as we prioritize measures for future addition.

Does this registry have use for spinal device manufacturers? How could they get involved? Would they be able to access reports that aggregate data, to help support their own data collection needs?

Dr. Resnick: There will be opportunities for industry participation, including:

  • Support of the NASS registry in the form of unrestricted grants in exchange for recognition
  • Aggregate data may be requested for use by third parties with the permission of NASS. Permissions are granted at the discretion of NASS on a case-by-case basis. Requests for aggregate data will be considered after data for 1,000 patients with a particular diagnosis have been collected.
  • Beginning tentatively in June 2020, NASS may allow industry to conduct research using the registry platform (not access to participants). Approval of platform use would be at NASS’ discretion on a case-by-case basis.
  • Proposals for research collaboration with the NASS organization using the registry may be considered by NASS.
  • Opportunity to add measures, calculations or services to the platform that NASS may not wish to subsidize or develop.  


A corporate opportunities packet with details is available on the NASS website at www.spine.org. Questions about the registry can be sent via email.