IONM Use Reduces Opioid Rx, Readmissions

The opioid epidemic has become a national crisis, with over 300,000 deaths attributed to opioid overdose since 1999. Opioid abuse brings emotional distress for families and extreme financial pressure on our healthcare system. With opioid misuse as one of the most prominent public health challenges, changes to medical practice that reduce the use of opiates result in significant social, economic, and health benefits. 

Spine surgery is commonly performed today, but this procedure carries a significant risk for injury and painful recovery, resulting in patient readmissions. Therefore, opioids are often used to manage pain during recovery. 

Studies show that cervical spine patients whose surgeries received Intraoperative Neuromonitoring (IONM) were less likely to receive opiates in the first year following their surgery. Results also showed that patient readmissions were significantly reduced with the use of IONM to improve patient safety. Therefore, IONM can provide significant benefits by reducing opioid use, patient complications, and readmissions. 

Research Overview

A recent study evaluated the value of IONM in single-level procedures. This study used an extensive administrative health claims database to assess how IONM reduces post-operative readmissions and neurologic complications. The sample included 8,413 patients, 26.7% of the sample having received IONM, and evaluated various patient characteristics, type of surgical procedure, and geographic variations.  

Results showed that patients who received IONM saw reduced readmission at 30 days, 90 days, and one-year post-surgery. These patients also saw reduced outpatient opioid use in the first year following surgery. Additionally, IONM patients experienced reduced nervous system complications one-year post-surgery. 

Another study included 8,413 individuals undergoing uncomplicated cervical surgeries. Of that sample, 2,246 people received IONM with their surgery. Results showed that these individuals experienced a significant reduction in post-operative complications and pain. With constant patient, surgical procedure, and geographic area characteristics, these patients were also evaluated one-year post-surgery. As a result, IONM showed declines in neurological complications, outpatient opiate use, and readmissions at 30, 90, and 360 days.

IONM Support

SpecialtyCare is the largest provider of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) services in the nation, with 110,000 cases every year. We work alongside leading surgeons to identify early signs of neurological injury. The health and safety of our patients is our top priority, and we’re committed to providing them with the best care possible. 

Partnering with SpecialtyCare provides you with the clinical expertise and resources to take your IONM program to the next level. We’re your insurance policy against risk and the high cost of patient injury during even the most complex procedures, ensuring the highest level of patient safety.

About SpecialtyCare

SpecialtyCare is dedicated to providing an exceptional patient experience, becoming the OR employer of choice, and leading the way in OR innovation.