If a recent national U.S. survey is any indication, things might be looking up for the chiropractic profession.
A Gallup study of 5,442 adult Americans, commissioned by Palmer College of Chiropractic, indicates a positive reputation of chiropractic as an effective treatment for neck and back pain – with six out of 10 adults either strongly agreeing or somewhat agreeing to this premise. In addition, 63 per cent either strongly agree or somewhat agree that most chiropractors have their patients’ best interest in mind. Last year alone, more than 33 million U.S. adults – about 14 per cent – saw a chiropractor an average of 11 times.
Kudos to Palmer College for taking the initiative and investing in this market intelligence. According to Palmer, this study was the first-ever national survey to measure Americans’ perception of and experiences with chiropractic. This annual survey will be repeated for at least two more years and will aid Palmer’s efforts to “advance the profession’s identity and public understanding of chiropractic care.”
A similar study, if commissioned in Canada, would be a worthwhile endeavour. For one thing, it will uncover valuable insights that can help shape future efforts to influence public perception. For another, it will provide real market intelligence about chiropractic utilization, which has been the subject of many discussions and contention (and a subject for another editorial, perhaps), depending on where one lives.
Any potential national survey would need to be cognizant of provincial discrepancies in utilization rates to be able to provide a realistic picture of the state of chiropractic in Canada. However, the primary focus of such a study, if commissioned, should be to gauge public perception of chiropractic and their experiences under care.
The Canadian Chiropractic Association, with support from provincial associations, will serve the entire profession well by taking this initiative of launching a national study. We’ve seen numerous research about the efficacy of chiropractic care; we’ve heard case studies of chiropractors integrating successfully in interprofessional care settings. It’s time to take it a step further by asking the patients and getting their perspectives on chiropractic.
The outcomes of such a study will serve to reinforce efforts by the profession to increase its participation in primary health care through patient-centred, interprofessional collaboration.
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