Methods: Needs were assessed by surveying attitudes and behaviors related to chiropractic and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) of physicians associated with the hospital. Analyzing referral and utilization patterns assessed chiropractic integration into the hospital system.
Results: One hundred five surveys were returned after 2 mailings for a response rate of 74%. Seventy-four percent of respondents supported integration of CAM into the hospital system, although 45% supported the primary care physician as the gatekeeper for CAM use. From 2006 to 2008, there were 8294 unique new patients in the chiropractic program. Primary care providers (medical doctors and physician assistants) were the most common referral source, followed by self-referred patients, sports medicine physicians, and orthopedic physicians. Overall examination of the program identified that facilitators of chiropractic integration were(1) growth in interest in CAM,(2) establishing relationships with key administrators and providers,(3) use of evidence-based practice,(4) adequate physical space, and(5) creation of an integrated spine care program.Barriers were(1) lack of understanding of chiropractic professional identity by certain providers and(2) certain financial aspects of third-party payment for chiropractic.
Conclusion: This article describes the process of integrating chiropractic into one of the largest private hospital systems in Minnesota from a business and professional perspective and the results achieved once chiropractic was integrated into the system. This study identified key factors that facilitated integration of services and demonstrates that chiropractic care can be successfully integrated within a hospital system.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text. PMID 20004801