eHEALTH BureauRoyal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG) and SpineMark Corporation, a leader in developing specialised centers for spine care, announced today a long-term partnership to build centers for spine care globally. The first centres for spine care resulting from this agreement will be established in the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey in the first quarter of 2011.SpineMark’s Spine Centers of Excellence (spine centers) bring together highly skilled and dedicated spine specialists, allowing patients quick and easy access to care for all spine related needs. These centres create efficient patient triage and care management systems, help manage healthcare costs and provide patients with a complete continuum of care from diagnosis to pain relief, surgery and rehabilitation. The result is a highly efficient, patient-centric standard of care.As part of this agreement, Philips will draw on its competencies in healthcare, lighting and design to provide an integrated solution to enhance optimal patient outcomes. This includes advanced imaging equipment such as MRI and CT scanners, healthcare IT solutions to improve spine centre efficiency, and learning tools for physicians and nurses. Furthermore, Philips will equip the centers with innovative lighting solutions that create a stimulating workplace and improve productivity, as well as design solutions to streamline workflow for spine center staff.”A major part of spine care is non-surgical. For example complex diagnosis, numerous pain relief interventions and extensive rehabilitation often mean that patients can experience long waiting times for services, repeated referrals and unnecessary expense,” said Dr. Eric Silfen, Chief Medical Officer at Philips Healthcare. “SpineMark’s innovative care delivery model and our unique partnership will help simplify spine care and create a patient-friendly environment.””With 4 out of 5 people suffering from back pain and an emphasis on finding quality, cost effective healthcare, we have seen a growing need for best practices in spine care across the globe. The partnership with Philips offers us access to the tools needed to not only implement the spine center model globally but also manage each center. This is the first time that a standard model for spine care is being set up globally,” explains Marcy Rogers, CEO of SpineMark Corporation.Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic, while the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are from vehicular accidents (41.3%), followed by falls (27.3%). Americans spend USD 85 billion a year on surgery, doctor visits, imaging and medications treating back and neck pain. Outpatient visits alone were responsible for 36% of all spine-related medical expenditures in 2005.