Earlier this spring, the Penn Medicine Spine Center at Pennsylvania Hospital opened its doors to patients suffering from neck or back pain due to injury, overuse, or disease. The $10-million facility, located in PAH’s newly renovated Spruce Building, aims to streamline spine care and create a more convenient patient experience by combining evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment in one location.
“Our founder, Benjamin Franklin, understood the need for various partners to come together to make something greater than the sum of its parts,” said Theresa Larivee, CEO of the hospital, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “PAH continues to live and breathe this multidisciplinary mindset, and it is helping us blaze the path to the future of spine care.”
The center — which UPHS CEO Ralph W. Muller described as “game-changing” — brings together specialists from neurosurgery, orthopedics, neurology, pain management, radiology, and behavioral medicine to create team-based approach “that will continue to set us apart from other health systems and practices.”
For William C. Welch, MD, medical director of the Spine Center and chair of Neurosurgery at PAH, creating a one-stop shop that provides patient visits, imaging, pain management, and surgical and nonsurgical treatments improves the continuity of care and elevates the patient experience by getting “the right patient to the right provider at the right time.” Increased efficiency “allows our patients to get back on their feet as quickly while also reducing some of the financial burdens that spine disorders can place on patients and their families,” he said.
Penn Medicine’s spine program spans the region, and, as noted by Neurosurgery chair M. Sean Grady, MD, the opening of the Spine Center marks the next step of a new, innovative era of spine care. Nearly nine out of 10 people will experience neck or back pain at some point in their life; delivering high-quality, accessible spine care in the heart of Center City will ensure an improved quality of life for more patients.
“This center exemplifies why our spine program is one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive programs of its kind. It builds on Penn’s network of spine and pain care experts, bringing together our expertise under one roof with a shared vision,” Grady said. “While this is a PAH program, it is part of a growing strategy focused on forging a future of improved patient experience across all of our sites.”