The British Association of Spine Surgeons have now revamped and relaunched their website at www.spinesurgeons.ac.uk. The site has features that should ensure that it becomes a useful resource for patients, spine surgeons and also the Industry that supports spine surgeons in their work. The society embraces all spinal disorders except paediatric deformity.
The fact that it has an ac.uk domain name means that it will appear high in any search engine. More and more patients access the internet for information, and the quality of information available for patients is quite variable at best. Initially we have concentrated on the common surgical disorders, and the frequently asked questions regarding MRI scans and consent.
There are direct links to N.I.C.E.org for the guidance available to patients and clinicians on all the spinal procedures that have been covered so far. Patients have ready access to the PDF files on Interspinous distraction devices, disc arthroplasty and vertebroplasty procedures. Links are provided to quality healthcare support sites on spinal disorders.
A useful page for all is that on meetings and courses. Direct links for easy registration are available. The closing date for abstract submission is clear for scientific symposium. There are three calendars, one for the Spine Societies, another is for educational courses that have no commercial sponsorship. A final area that needs more content is for spine courses that are commercially supported. Companies that wish to post links just need to contact the society. There is no charge. It is freely available to all.
The news area is for members, the public and the spine industry. News items are archived and remain available. Succinct (the webmaster would like to think pithy) reviews of recent publications in Spine, topics of interest, and even medical device alerts appear under this heading.
There are now over 170 members who are all Consultants or surgeons in training with a specific declared interest in spinal disorders. The members' area has a forum for discussion. There is direct on line links to three journals including 'Spine'. An On-line journal club is being trialled for the first time. The senior author of the papers under review is invited to join the forum and respond to posts and comments regarding the journal articles selected. Professor Alexander Vaccaro of the Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia has kindly agreed, and the whole topic of classification of thoracolumbar fractures is the learning topic.
Phase One of the website is now complete. Phase Two will develop further the educational opportunities that this provides with a variety of media and interactive learning resources. The already well established audits undertaken by BASS members will focus on specific common spinal disorders.
The first survey of members is nearly complete. It has established that the society membership is 60% orthopaedic consultant, 18% neurosurgical consultant, and has a good mix of training grades. Sixty two percent of the Consultants report that more than 95% of their surgical; workload is spinal.
The members survey area is versatile and would permit market research of implant and technology developments. That would require a symbiosis with the Spine Implant Industry. At present the site has no commercial sponsorship at all. It has been funded by the society and the content provided by the society. The engineering and development has been very professionally provided by www.bluenewmedia.co.uk who have extensive experience of medical websites.