Spinal injuries are the number one cause of pain and disability in the market. The American Chiropractic Association, reported that back pain alone accounts for more than 264 million lost work days with up to 80% of Americans experiencing back pain in their lifetime.
The economical impact of poorly treated injuries and health conditions on employees and companies has become a national concern. With rising healthcare costs and a parallel problem of poor recovery results, in January 2018 three corporate juggernauts Berkshire Hathaway, J.P. Morgan and Amazon announced a coalition to form a new breed of healthcare coverage to provide injury and health treatment.
In an interview, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said the current system is “out of control.” He pointed to “utterly unnecessary” treatments.
We sat down with nationally recognized injury expert Jeffrey Cronk DC, JD who also serves as the COO of Spinal Kinetics, a firm leading the race in detecting the source of spinal ligament injuries.
Author: You have been in the injury industry for over 30 years, would you say Bezos and Buffet on the right path with their new alliance?
Cronk: They have a good foundational mindset to solve the problem of healthcare access. With U.S. employers looking at hikes of 5.5% healthcare costs in 2018, the most interesting challenge they will face is the accuracy and speed of recovery in injury work. If the healthcare treatment is low quality due to inaccurate diagnosis and care the length of recovery will defeat the lower costs. So we will have to see how that plays out.
With accuracy of diagnosis comes workable and effective treatment plans. Ultimately leading to better overall health and potentially, a reversal of chronic pain, naturally.
It will be imperative within their model that they partner with healthcare providers who have a track record and proven statistics of recovery. Bezos is no stranger to algorithms which weed out poor performance and consumer feedback so I think they have the right talent on board.
Author: You mentioned radiology has a major role in injury recovery. Why is this?
Cronk: Radiology is comprised of several different types of imaging used to view different internal parts in the body. Some types of radiology include x-ray, MRI, CT, PET and ultrasound.
The most commonly practiced form of radiology is an x-ray. They are primarily used to look at bones and foreign objects in tissues.
CT scans take detailed images of slices of bones, common injuries and infections. They are used to detect cancers, arthritis, osteoporosis and other maladies.
MRI takes detailed slices of bones, tissues and blood vessels and is used to detect cancers, tumors and is often used in emergency situations.
Radiology has become an extremely common part of general healthcare. Without it, many of the treatments and technology we benefit from would be useless. It’s become an almost indispensable part of modern medicine.
Author: How Does Spinal Kinetics Use Radiology and why is it important in injury recovery?
Cronk: Spinal Kinetics has developed a proprietary technology known as CRMA®, which stands for Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis.
CRMA incorporates advanced x-ray measurement technology to measure the exact abnormalities significant to detecting the source of a spinal ligament injury.
The x-rays are professionally evaluated by board certified medical radiologists and performed independently of the treating provider. The result is a completely unbiased and professional report free from any treating provider bias.
Author: How does CRMA Differ From an MRI
Cronk: Traditionally, we have used MRI as the primary method of determining injuries to the neck or spinal ligaments, yet despite rising utilization rates, this testing procedure has not really helped to improve treatment results or reduce the costs of these injuries.
This is likely not due to what is found on the MRI but rather what can be contributed to what is missed on the Spinal MRI, which is damage to the spinal ligaments causing excessive motion.
Although MRI can be great for determining ligament injuries to a very specific ligament in the spine such as disk herniation, this same MRI was never designed to find more serious spinal ligament injuries including excessive motion. Excessive motion occurs from the damaged ligaments laxity and can lead to a condition called spinal instability.
With over 220 specialized ligaments holding the spine in place and only 23 of those ligaments being discs, it is very easy to see that over reliance on a test that only generally addresses 10% of the spine ligament structure is lacking.
MRI is great for disc injuries, but it was never designed to find the more serious spinal ligament injuries associated with the other 197+ ligaments.
Conversely, CRMA was developed specifically to fill this diagnostic hole and measure these problematic excessive motion findings that cause serious spinal instabilities. CRMA along with MRI can now be part of a complete, accurate analysis for any spinal ligament damage, and patients no longer must have these conditions go undiagnosed.
Author: Moving forward, how do you see this approach being useful to improve the standards of injury healthcare?
Cronk: The goal of CRMA is to provide a means with which almost any healthcare provider can get accurate and unbiased reports showing the inter-segmental, abnormal motion or excessive joint motion in a patient’s spine or neck.
These procedures are imperative to any spinal injury work up.
This service can lead to much more accurate diagnosis and thereby much more effective treatment plans, no matter your specialty. It is available to medical doctors, medical specialists, chiropractors, osteopaths, sports injury specialists and many others.