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Consultation #97

Chiropractic and Medical Collaboration

In a recent article in the Journal Family Practice (2011) the authors discussed the importance of collaborative management of chronic musculoskeletal conditions in order for long term treatment to succeed.  This has certainly been my personal experience, but if you look at the national level WE ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE.  The pathway by which chiropractic care effects pain at the central nervous system level has just been published (2012) and recently the CDC has just released alarming statistics on the use of opioid medications for the treatment of pain.  To win and be successful in today’s healthcare environment and certainly in the new health-care world, you need to work towards clinical excellence and toward leadership in collaboration. 

Regardless of how the new healthcare law turns out, it is clear that we are turning the corner BACK to a primary care/portal of entry type system from our current specialist driven system.  The great thing is that chiropractic has the ability to thrive in either of those environments, but we need to be prepared to educate the MDs that we are working with so that we can steer our practices to the promised land.  This research paper titled “Will shared decision making between patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors improve patient care?” states the aim of the paper was “To explore patients and chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists beliefs about CMP [Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain] and its treatment and how these beliefs influence care seeking and ultimately the process of care” (p 203)  This is a very important concept since the health-care system is looking for more integration, but the attitudes of providers may not be in line with that need.  I personally think that a lot of this has to do with the era in which the providers were educated in the respective fields, being educated prior to the idea of true collaboration may be a barrier.  There are providers of all ages and attitudes out there, personal beliefs carry a lot of weight in the health-care arena.   The authors stated in the conclusion of the paper “Seeking care for any condition is not static but a process particularly for long-term conditions such as CMP.” (p 203) In other words, you can effectively use this information to reach out to the medical community and build relationships.  Chronic musculoskeletal pain patients are in need of help and achieve great results while under chiropractic care. 

Finally, the authors reported “Training and support for both health professionals and patients may be helpful in facilitation a shared decision-making approach.” (p 203)  This is one of the major foundations of the MD Referral Program and if you are scared of public speaking [CME] you can still support and train the MDs through reporting and one on one interaction.  The time is now and I hope that you understand the sense of urgency to build these relationships.  The patients are there waiting…When you are reaching out to the MD world, it is critical that you communicate with me on a regular basis, I see opportunities where you will not…

 

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