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In-House Intraoperative Monitoring in Neurosurgery in England - Benefits and Challenges

Lookup NU author(s): Menaka Paranathala, Dr Stephan Jaiser, Christopher CowieORCiD, Professor Mark BakerORCiD


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Background: Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IOM) is a valuable adjunct for neurosurgical operative techniques, and has been shown to improve clinical outcomes in cranial and spinal surgery. It is not necessarily provided by NHS hospitals so may be outsourced to private companies, which are expensive and at cost to the NHS trusts. We discuss the benefits and challenges of developing an in-house service. Methods: We surveyed NHS neurosurgical departments across England regarding their expenditure on IOM over the period January 2018 - December 2022 on cranial neurosurgery and spinal surgery. Out of 24 units, all responded to our Freedom of Information requests and 21 provided data. The standard NHS England salary of NHS staff who would normally be involved in IOM, including physiologists and doctors, was also compiled for comparison. Results: The total spend on outsourced IOM, across the units who responded, was over £8 million in total for the four years. The annual total increased, between 2018 and 2022, from £1.1 to £3.5 million. The highest single unit yearly spend was £568,462. This is in addition to salaries for staff in neurophysiology departments. The mean NHS salaries for staff is also presented. Conclusion: IOM is valuable in surgical decision-making, planning, and technique, having been shown to lead to fewer patient complications and shorter length of stay. Current demand for IOM outstrips the internal NHS provision in many trusts across England, leading to outsourcing to private companies. This is at significant cost to the NHS. Although there is a learning curve, there are many benefits to in-house provision, such as stable working relationships, consistent methods, training of the future IOM workforce, and reduced long-term costs, which planned expansion of NHS services may provide.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Paranathala MP, Jaiser S, Hussain MA, Mirallave-Pescador A, Cowie CJA, Baker MR, Holliman D, Fry CA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medical Systems

Year: 2024

Volume: 48

Online publication date: 22/02/2024

Acceptance date: 05/02/2024

ISSN (print): 0148-5598

ISSN (electronic): 1573-689X

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s10916-024-02041-7


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