Case Study 1: Prevention
Problem: In the city of Muskegon, insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan wanted to cure a serious problem. Spine surgery rates were triple the national average, and both doctors and patients were concerned.
Case Study 2: Emergency
Problem: A middle-aged man, John*, experienced severe chronic back pain. His wife had driven him to a midwestern hospital’s Emergency Department three times over six months. Each episode led to an MRI, surgical consultation, and a few refills of oxycodone.
Case Study 3: Subacute
Problem: Dr. Smith* is a spine surgeon in New England known as the “go-to” careful and conservative professional for people with back pain in his community. But his office was swamped with non-surgical cases, and he was losing patients to the aggressive practitioners across town.
Case Study 4: Chronic Pain
Problem: Elaine* was the doctor’s nightmare: An angry person, she had been out of work for four years, with a history of three back operations and longstanding opioid dependency. Yet within a few weeks of meeting her new physician, he had a plan and she was happy with it. How did that happen?