Objective: This paper describes a novel collaborative partnership between Cleveland Chiropractic College, Kansas City and a large suburban medical center with the full complement of inpatient, outpatient and outreach services. The purpose of this collaboration is to provide student training and experience in a multidisciplinary setting and to provide needed care to both inpatients and community outpatients. The paper will focus on the conceptual underpinnings of the partnership, discuss relevant issues to clinic start-up that may serve to inform similar efforts by other chiropractors and chiropractic colleges, and address the implications of this partnership for curriculum development and training chiropractors for innovative practice in the 21st century.
Methods:The Cleveland Chiropractic College Wellness Center was established in 2004 as a specialty clinic on the first floor of a large suburban medical center. The Clinic’s primary mission was to provide chiropractic care, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and enhance student learning in an interdisciplinary context. Against the broader backdrop of a medical center providing a broad range of acute, inpatient (including long-term care) and outpatient specialty clinic care, the chiropractic clinic provides care to people from the community, as well as in-patients, long-term care patients and hospital staff and employees. One unique feature of the chiropractic specialty clinic is that space is leased from the hospital and independently managed by the chiropractic college.
Results: After one year the Cleveland Chiropractic Wellness Center is operating well in this interdisciplinary community setting. Consistent with broader literature on diffusion of innovation, physician referral patterns to the new wellness center allowed the identification of medical staff physicians who were “early adopters” of this innovative service. Most commonly treated conditions in this clinic are back pain and a variety of headaches although there are an increasing number of referrals of patients with chronic pain syndromes. There have been no adverse events or significant side effects reported associated with chiropractic care delivery to patients since the inception of this specialty clinic. On exit interviews students consistently rate their participation in this program as quite satisfying and feel that this program is an excellent learning experience.
Discussion: With appropriate planning, training, and sensitivity, chiropractors can integrate their services into more traditional venues. Challenges include the need to interact more with and educate staff physicians about chiropractic care approaches including current research, indications, contraindications, risks and “best practices” approaches. Another challenge is the need to expand the research component of this clinic such as increasing presentation and publication of interesting or unusual case studies. Future research is planned to survey medical staff physicians, nurses and staff about their attitudes and knowledge regarding the chiropractic specialty clinic.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher.