DCs as Leaders in Health and Wellness: Part I: Utilizing the Practice-Based Research Network to Show Evidence of Chiropractic’s Efficacy
The Chiro.Org Blog
SOURCE: JACA Online
By Jay S. Greenstein, DC
Don’t just sit idly by and wait for your colleague down the street to sign up for ICON. We need him or her, but we need you too. Sign up today, and be part of the clinician-researcher army to show the world how important and special we are. It will help our profession, it will help your practice and most important it will help the millions of patients who don’t yet know how much we can help them.
As national health care reform takes hold, health care provider groups are staking claim to their slice of the health care pie. In fact, even in our own profession, there is an ongoing debate as to the role doctors of chiropractic will play. Should we be primary care physicians in the medical home (see www.foundation4cp.com/files/cp-medicalhome.Pdf) and/or accountable care organizations (ACO)? Should we alter our scope of practice to include prescription rights? Should we focus primarily on the spine?
While the debate rages on the aforementioned questions, I personally believe that the profession can rally around an even more important concept: Chiropractic must be the leading profession in health and wellness. We can be the cultural authority on this topic regardless of the answers to the questions above. In fact, most of us already perceive ourselves as health and wellness providers. But what does the evidence suggest? The evidence for Ds improving the overall health of our patients is paltry compared with the evidence supporting chiropractic for low-back pain. When was the last time you saw an article in a peer-reviewed journal that said, “Doctor of chiropractic services improve overall health metrics in patients compared to medical doctors”?
Anecdotally, we see this in our practices every day. Sharing stories with colleagues about how we helped our patients not only heal from their back pain but also become truly healthier is a daily occurrence. We must now turn those stories into evidence. Our profession needs evidence based on the rest of the world’s standards of what constitutes high quality research. That’s where the practice-based research network (PBRN) comes in.
Practice-Based Research Network
The PBRN, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is “a group of ambulatory practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients, and affiliated in their mission to investigate questions related to community-based practice and to improve the quality of primary care.”
Fortunately, the chiropractic profession has Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD, a highly- regarded researcher at Logan College of Chiropractic, who, along with researchers at Parker University and Texas Chiropractic College, has built a new PBRN for chiropractic. This PBRN is named ICON, the Integrated Chiropractic Outcomes Network. There is a great need for this initiative, as well as a great need for every DC in the country to participate in this practice-based research initiative. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Hawk to ask her about ICON.
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