Atlantic Health Neuroscience Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center Offers ‘One-Stop-Shop’ Access to Care 

Say goodbye to neck and back aches that are compounded by the headache of disjointed care. The Atlantic Health Neuroscience Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center, part of the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, is redefining one-stop care with an emphasis on evidence-based care and outcomes.

The center offers an integrated approach to spine care. Patients have access to a team of experts skilled in every form of treatment. According to Jay Chun, MD, PhD, an Altair Health neurosurgeon and co-director of the Spine Center, this continuum of care can lead to better outcomes, prevent unnecessary procedures and make navigating the health care process easier for patients.

Dr. Chun recently spoke with NJ Advance Media about the center and how it is helping patients.

Q: How do patients benefit from the new Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center?

A: This is a fully integrated center where we bring all the necessary disciplines into a one-stop shop for complete care. By leveraging a multidisciplinary approach, we don’t function in siloes. We eliminate the often-inherent disjointed nature of health care.

Often, patients don’t need surgery. But, if they end up in a spine surgeon’s office, the recommended treatment will likely be surgery. If they go to a pain management professional, they’ll be treated with a completely different approach. That’s because doctors are most likely to treat patients according to their training.

We function differently at the center. Our multi-disciplinary approach – backed by national data, evidence and outcomes – ensures delivery of the best treatment for the issue. We take a holistic view, determine the route cause – which can range from psychosomatic to neurologic, inflammatory, arthritis or more – and treat it accordingly. The answer may not be surgery or injections. There are many other options.

Q: How does the Spine Center overcome the problem of disjointed care?

A: Our team approach pulls it all together. We have spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management, image diagnostics, even nutrition – because sometimes individuals have back pain when their diet is off or if they are a little overweight – all in the same building on the same floor.

For me, I’m conservative and specialize in minimally invasive surgery. I’ll tell a patient, ‘Let me take your case to the neurologist or to pain management and see what he or she thinks.’ If multiple professionals say you don’t need surgery, you can feel secure in that decision as opposed to the opinion of just one doctor.

Q: How else can the center make a patient’s life easier?

A: Sometimes patients are referred to a surgeon, but don’t need a surgeon. What he or she needs is physical therapy or pain management. The patient will get a few names, make the appointments and drive 20 miles away, where they’ll meet another doctor. The patient’s records will have to be transferred, starting over from scratch with each doctor – and navigating the twists and turns alone.

At the Spine Center, if the patient doesn’t need a surgeon, I’ll walk him or her over to pain management or physical therapy to see if he or she can be squeezed in. If not, we get an appointment. When the patient comes back, he or she already knows how to get here, where to park and what to expect … and the records are automatically transferred to the right place. It’s just better care.

Q: What kind of care can patients expect after they have been treated?

A: We follow up immediately with every patient after surgery and call every patient after 30 days of being seen. We track outcomes and satisfaction scores – as well as post-surgical complications and re-operations. This data supports our evidence-based approach to care.

These metrics are crucial. They enable us to improve care based on data and feedback. This promotes doing the right thing for the patient – and getting better outcomes at a lower cost and with less frustration. This is the future of medicine.