The National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (N2QOD): a collaborative North American outcomes registry to advance value-based spine care.


Study design

National Prospective Observational Registry.


Describe our preliminary experience with the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (NQOD), a national collaborative registry of quality and outcomes reporting after low back surgery.

Summary of background data

All major health care stakeholders are now requiring objective data regarding the value of medical services. Surgical therapies for spinal disorders have faced particular scrutiny in recent value-based discussions, in large part due to the dramatic growth in the cost and application of these procedures. Reliable data are fundamental to understanding the value of delivered health care. Clinical registries are increasingly used to provide such data.


The NQOD is a prospective observational registry designed to establish risk-adjusted expected morbidity and 1-year outcomes for the most common lumbar surgical procedures performed by spine surgeons; provide practice groups and hospitals immediate infrastructure for analyzing their 30-day morbidity and mortality and 3- and 12-month quality data in real-time; generate surgeon-, practice-, and specialty-specific quality and efficacy data; and generate nationwide quality and effectiveness data on specific surgical treatments.


In its first 2 years of operation, the NQOD has proven to be a robust data collection platform that has helped demonstrate the objective quality of surgical interventions for medically refractory disorders of the lumbar spine. Lumbar spine surgery was found to be safe and effective at the group mean level in routine practice. Subgroups of patients did not report improvement using validated outcome measures. Substantial variation in treatment response was observed among individual patients.


The NQOD is now positioned to determine the combined contribution of patient variables to specific clinical and patient-reported outcomes. These analyses will ultimately facilitate shared decision making and encourage efficient allocation of health care resources, thus significantly advancing the value paradigm in spine care.

Level of evidence






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Asher, Anthony L, Ted Speroff, Robert S Dittus, Scott L Parker, Jason M Davies, Nathan Selden, Hui Nian, Steven Glassman, et al. (2014). The National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (N2QOD): a collaborative North American outcomes registry to advance value-based spine care. Spine, 39(22 Suppl 1). pp. S106–S116. 10.1097/brs.0000000000000579 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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