Am J Public Health 2002 (Oct); 92 (10): 1628–1633
Hertzman-Miller RP, Morgenstern H, Hurwitz EL, Yu F, Adams AH, Harber P, Kominski GF
Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Approximately one third as many back pain patients seek chiropractic care compared to those who seek medical care. In earlier randomized clinical trials, investigators found spinal manipulation to have similar or better rates of patient satisfaction when compared to medical approaches such as physical therapy, McKenzie method and standard medical therapy. This study examined the differences in satisfaction between patients assigned to either medical care or chiropractic care in a managed care organization. In this randomized trial, the chiropractic patients were more satisfied with their back care after 4 weeks of treatment. The researchers concluded that providers in managed care organizations may be able to increase the satisfaction of their low back pain patients by communicating advice and information to patients about their condition and treatment.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the difference in satisfaction between patients assigned to chiropractic vs medical care for treatment of low back pain in a managed care organization.
METHODS: Satisfaction scores (on a 10-50 scale) after 4 weeks of follow-up were compared among 672 patients randomized to receive medical or chiropractic care.
RESULTS: The mean satisfaction score for chiropractic patients was greater than the score for medical patients (crude difference = 5.5; 95% confidence interval = 4.5, 6.5). Self-care advice and explanation of treatment predicted satisfaction and reduced the estimated difference between chiropractic and medical patients' satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS: Communication of advice and information to patients with low back pain increases their satisfaction with providers and accounts for much of the difference between chiropractic and medical patients' satisfaction.