All too often, the biggest challenge for individuals suffering with back injuries or pain-related issues is working through an outdated medical and insurance system to get to specialists who can address the real problem with treatment that works.

That’s why a group of respected physicians and healthcare providers have created SpineWork, a professional referral program that cuts through the bureaucratic red tape to help patients find real solutions to their particular problem.

“All too often patients get stuck in a seemingly endless loop of referrals without having a voice in their treatment,” said Phil Sanchez, CEO of Avantis Care. “People with back problems or pain-related issues become educated about their condition, but are often at the mercy of a series of ineffectual and expensive treatments.”

SpineWork is a comprehensive online program in which the patient, in coordination with a experienced care coordinator, reviews the nature of the problem and the available options for care or treatment.

“Unlike traditional medical treatment, the patient is the priority,” said Sanchez. “We establish a dialogue with the patient who has a significant role in determining how to proceed based on their particular situation.”

SpineWork doesn’t simply offer moral support. The program has a growing network of support of pain management specialists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and other healthcare professionals.

“The program works like a medical triage program, helping patients understand the issues, discussing options and determining an appropriate course of treatment,” said Dr. Lenny Jue, Pain Management Specialist. “An educated patient is in a better position to assist in his or her recovery.”

Working with a care specialist, individuals have the opportunity to explain their condition and previous treatments. The SpineWork specialists help refer the patient to a physician or healthcare provider best suited to the situation.

The service is provided free of charge and does not prevent the patient from using any insurance coverage they have available. The response has been highly favorable, both from patients who appreciate having a more active role in determining their treatment and from the medical community who see this as a more efficient way to refer patients to appropriate providers.

“It’s a patient-centric and efficient approach that helps the individual navigate the healthcare system,” said Woodlands neurosurgeon Dr. Mirza Baig. “The clinical basis for this approach has been well established in other metropolitan areas. Having this in The Woodlands is a significant benefit to area residents.”

Indeed, Baig noted that the concept adopted by SpineWork for back and pain management is a viable template for other healthcare programs. In traditional programs controlled by physicians and insurance companies, the patient has very little input or control over treatment.

Patients see a primary care physician, who refers them to a specialist, who refers them to another specialist or therapist – a seemingly endless roster of healthcare professionals, in some cases. And with the uncertainty of how ObamaCare will impact the healthcare industry, Baig said the SpineWork approach is one that will likely become increasingly popular because of its simplicity and efficiency.

While the project is highly professional, Sanchez said the concept behind SpineWork is similar to being able to ask a knowledgeable friend for advice.

“We have a solid and practical working relationship with doctors, specialists and healthcare providers who are expert in treating spine and pain related problems,” he said. “Our trained staff doesn’t just offer sympathy, we offer a path to effective treatment and solutions.”