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What to Expect on Your Visit

Arrival and check-in

The patient arrives at the DHMC Spine Center for their scheduled appointments. Upon arrival, the reception staff checks in the patient and confirms their address, contact information, and insurance information.

The reception staff collects the General Health Form from the patient. This form was mailed in advance with their introduction letter. If the survey form was not completed, then the patient is given a new blank form to complete while waiting to be called into the exam room for their appointment.

If you'd like, you may print out the Health History Questionnaire (PDF) here.

Completion of Spine Center survey

The reception staff will then introduce a computerized survey to the patient and their family. They complete a Spine Specific Survey using a computerized touch pad. This survey is completed just before the meeting with their scheduled provider. The Spine Center team uses the information about the patient's general health as well as their spine health at the time of their appointment.

Spine Center clinic staff

The Spine Center is staffed by PTs, NPs, surgeons, and non-surgeons that may include internal medicine, rehabilitation, pain, or occupational medicine specialists. This complement of providers allows for formal or informal consultation among providers in the Spine Center, maximizing the range of expertise offered to each patient.

In addition to the scheduled providers in clinic, there is a complement of nurses, behavior pain specialists, social worker/case managers, and nursing support staff who are available to assist both the patients and providers.

Clinical exam

The patient and their family members are taken into the exam room by the clinic support staff. The Spine Center providers interviews and examines the patient. It is not uncommon for patients to see more than one provider, given the multidisciplinary nature of the Spine Center clinic. Other providers may also be involved in the appointment, dependent on the specific clinical situation, provider availability, and patient interest/flexibility.

In addition to their direct care providers, the patients benefit from informal consultations which commonly take place within the clinic setting. These consultations may include review of films/test results with colleagues, discussion of treatment options with other specialists, consultation about medication management, physical therapy, and/or patient education.

Patient education

Prior to leaving the clinic appointment, each patient receives education on their current condition. If appropriate, they also discuss additional diagnostic studies that may be required to treat their condition, and be informed of treatment options.

Shared decision making

Spine Center providers want to involve patients and families in the decisions about their health and health care. This includes a discussion of their various treatment options and plan of care. If desired the patient is referred to Center for Shared Decision Making. The patient is offered decision aids and other materials to become informed about the treatment options.

Appointment exit

If needed, the appointment schedulers arrange an appointment for follow-up care as the patient leaves the clinic. Efforts are made to coordinate appointments with multiple providers, to minimize trips to DHMC. They also take into account the patients' preferences about whether to have specific treatment/services performed locally in their home community.

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