How much does a pain management injection cost? The answer of course is ‘it depends’. What type of injection, which joint, which hospital, which country.
But for facet joint and epidural injections, combining the consultation, scan and injection, this add up to a sizeable cost where one of the goals is simply to create a window of pain relief for rehab.
(That is of course assuming there is a dedicated pathway to a rehab programme post injection, in most cases patients are simply discharged with some advice to keep active, do more exercise etc)
My firm belief is you need a different type of rehab in the pain-free window to effect change. I wonder about the extent to which some pain clinics are providing injections because when standard treatments are not working, the patient referral pathway ladder simply feeds patients to them.
I was at a seminar recently given by a pain clinic. The presenter was talking about the objectives of the injections and …. the current waiting list. For me it illustrated the point.
I wondered if the cost-effectiveness has ever been looked at or if the system simply self-perpetuates things in the absence of an alternative.
There is the well-known saying which can sound clichéd but perhaps applies, ‘if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.’
Now someone said to me recently, Steve, “but you’re just trying to sell a machine!!!” True! the answer is I am. But only to clinics and hospitals who want a specialist service for their patients.
There are manufacturers of steroids for hospitals, there are people selling pedicle screws to surgeons, there are people selling couch roll. It’s about service.
My job is helping clinics deliver better outcomes and a better service to spinal patients. In private healthcare, that is how clinics make a living. In social medicine, that is how health services save and not waste a lot of money, by giving people a meaningful programme which addresses the causes of the problem, holistically.
It also frees up primary care time by allowing doctors to focus on the multitude of patients pressuring clinical time.
If our programmes do not deliver on those objectives, we don’t have a business.
This ‘alternative’ spinal rehab pathway is slowly changing spine care.