North American Spine Society

The North American Spine Society chooses Mediasite to enhance the technological capabilities of its new medical education facility.

The North American Spine Society chooses Mediasite to enhance the technological capabilities of its new medical education facility. The North American Spine Society (NASS) envisioned building the most technologically advanced spine education facility. In early 2005, NASS moved from three separate buildings into one newly renovated facility in Burr Ridge, Illinois. The new facility houses the NASS headquarters and the Spine Masters Institute (SMI), a medical education facility with technology based around Mediasite. Over the past year, the Spine Masters Institute has attracted the attention of physicians from around the world and large industry healthcare firms who conduct educational conferences at the facility that is located just outside Chicago, Illinois. The society plans to educate up to 2,000 professionals and industry leaders each year, ultimately improving patient care by keeping them abreast of expert treatment techniques via educational courses. With Mediasite, NASS and its Spine Masters Institute can continue to move spine education forward by combining classic teaching strategies with progressive technological capabilities.

At a glance

  • State-of-the-art medical education facility
  • Mediasite chosen as base for facility-wide educational technology
  • Sessions are webcast or published to DVD for course attendees on- and off-site
  • Ultimate improvement of patient health through world-class educational offerings


NASS, which was formed in 1985, works to advance quality spine care through education, research and advocacy. In early 2005, NASS purchased a 40,000-square-foot building and surrounding land in Burr Ridge, Illinois, in an effort to expand its offices and educational efforts. The new building plan incorporated NASS headquarters and the SMI, the realization of a long-term plan to design a centrally-located learning center that would attract physicians and other health care professionals from around the world and serve as a premier medical training facility. NASS embarked on a two-year renovation to create a cutting-edge facility that could provide a variety of educational options.


In May 2007, the renovation was completed and the facility was ready to hold its first course. Each piece of audiovisual technology was assessed by NASS staff to ensure the highest-quality products were incorporated. “NASS was looking for a solution that could provide media-rich content on site at SMI and on location at the Annual Meeting, which is held in a different city in North America each year; Mediasite has these capabilities,” said Brad Repsold, director of information technology at NASS. “Additionally, the information that is recorded is available to the medical community through a variety of channels, including live, on-demand and DVD.”

The facility boasts a 3,800-square-foot bio-skills lab as well as a large-capacity auditorium, multimedia center and function room. The bio-skills lab has 12 fully equipped work stations, and each can accommodate 3 to 5 participants. Ceiling-mounted LCD screens at each station can display either images from a computer or the action at the lead faculty member’s table from different camera angles. The lead faculty member can also annotate over video; the entire process is controlled by touchscreens at either the lead workstation or an assistant station.

The auditorium has tiered seating for more than 100 people and dual screens that can show input from a variety of sources, including high-resolution document cameras, laptops, dedicated PCs, DVDs, VCRs and TVs and video feeds from the bio-skills lab and auditorium itself. An automated camera-tracking system allows presenters to move freely; infrared sensors track motion and keep cameras focused correctly. When an attendee presses a button on one of the individual tabletop microphones to ask a question, a camera automatically moves to record the attendee and his or her question. Mediasite allows technicians to record video, audio and visual aids concurrently and webcast the presentation both live and ondemand to online audiences.

Visiting lecturers and NASS presenters appreciate Mediasite’s ability to display video and graphics from a wide variety of sources “The multimedia technology is a strong selling point. Mediasite streamlines production efforts, because audio, video and PowerPoint presentations can be captured simultaneously, and the complete presentations can be packaged in-house,” said Repsold.


The SMI offers a broad base of spine-centered courses on topics ranging from surgical techniques and injections to sales leadership. The facility’s flexible technology allows NASS to efficiently address the diverse learning needs of multidisciplinary spine professionals and industry leaders.

NASS staff typically publishes the sessions to DVD via Mediasite, so attendees can take the information with them and use it for reference. NASS can also webcast the sessions live or on-demand. “With Mediasite, attendees can review what they just learned while traveling back home,” said Frank Kocich, director of marketing and communication at NASS.

NASS is confident that Mediasite will improve the society’s ability to keep spine professionals and industry leaders abreast of the latest technologies and treatments. This expansion of knowledge will enable expert patient care through more accurate and informed assessment and treatment choices.

“When bringing educators through our facility, we really tout the technological capabilities,” said Kocich. “We want to reach out to organizations like ours that provide hands-on CME courses to expand medical education. Mediasite is helping us create high-quality patient care worldwide.” “We have had significant interest from large health care industry firms,” said Kocich. SMI will host 10 NASS courses and another 23 related society and industry courses in 2008.

Spine patients will receive the ultimate benefit of SMI’s educational capabilities, as NASS is able to provide a myriad of education options not only to its members but to the entire spine care field. As NASS embarks on a new era of education with Mediasite, its goal is to remain a leader in spine care education and act as a role model for similar industry facilities. “Mediasite allows us to merge current teaching techniques with state-of-the-art technology at this premier training facility,” said Kocich.

About the North American Spine Society

The North American Spine Society is a multidisciplinary organization that advances quality spine care through education, research and advocacy. NASS members are MDs, DOs and PhDs in 24 spine-related specialties including orthopedics, neurosurgery, physiatry, pain management and other disciplines. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors, physical therapists, practice administrators and other allied healthcare professionals involved in spine care are also represented in NASS as affiliate members.