New Paradigm in Medical Education

Benefits spine patients and spine specialists alike

Every day brings news of another medical breakthrough. Doctors struggle to keep up, and patients wonder what state-of-the-art treatment will help them most. That's a frustrating situation for physicians and patients alike.

However, in the field of spinal disorders, SpineUniverse, LLC is changing that paradigm—to the benefit of spine patients and spine specialists.

In March 2007, SpineUniverse, LLC was formed by acquiring, the largest website for back and neck patients, and BroadWater, Inc., a medical education company that has run more than 200 courses for spine surgeons and specialists worldwide.

Because of this unique partnership, SpineUniverse can develop and distribute education materials for doctors and patients in an efficient, effective manner that reaches far more people than ever before.

In January 2008, 70 spine surgeons gathered for a three-day seminar on spinal disorders. Managed by SpineUniverse, the seminar was typical in that it brought together the world's leading spine surgeons to discuss and debate the latest advances in spine care.

But unlike other courses, the education didn't stop in the classroom—and it didn't stop with the surgeons. SpineUniverse set up a video suite and invited the surgeons to answer the most common spine questions—from "What is sciatica?" to "How can I relieve neck pain?" These 60 patient education videos will soon be available on the web. With the click of a mouse, spine patients worldwide can learn from the best spine specialists.

Dr. Richard Fessler, a neurosurgeon at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, commented: "I'm committed to providing excellent patient education materials. But few of us have the time needed to focus on this issue. Because SpineUniverse provided this video suite, I have been able to participate in a superb course, and then make several patient education videos that I trust will help patients worldwide."

SpineUniverse provides another valuable educational service, this time for spine specialists. Traditionally, if a physician is unable to attend a particular course, he or she misses out on the information that was presented. However, SpineUniverse now records sessions from several of the top spine meetings and has started making them available on its website. The response has been outstanding. More than 1,000 surgeons visited the online content from a recent pediatric program—while the actual meeting was attended by fewer than 100 surgeons. Through SpineUniverse, more surgeons are gaining access to first-rate educational materials, without needing to leave town.

"We have exciting plans for developing more patient and professional educational materials," comments Bill Paquin, CEO of SpineUniverse. "The initial results for our innovative education efforts have been very pleasing. At a time of constant medical advances straining the ability of doctors and patients to keep up, we're pleased to be at the forefront of providing spine education for specialists and patients, both online and offline."

Updated on: 12/17/09

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