Purpose: We compare patient populations attending chiropractors in the field to those in teaching clinics to allow educational institutions to determine if students are exposed to a similar case mix. The purpose of our study was to describe and compare descriptively the clinical case mix of a recently opened community-based teaching clinic to previously published practice data.
Methods: A retrospective descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using new patient records completed at a clinic. Data were extracted using a specifically designed abstraction form.
Results: We manually abstracted 649 files. A total of 580 new patient files was included in the analysis, among which 57.7% included female patients with a mean age of 43 years (SD 18), and 42.1% presented with a chief complaint of more than one year in duration. The vast majority of patients complained of spinal pain (81.4%), most commonly low back pain. Almost 92% of the diagnoses were classified as simple (sprain/strain). The average number of visits per patient was 7.4 (SD 11.3); 54.7% received spinal manipulation on their first visit. The majority of patients were referred by the treating intern (64.8%) and about 24% of patients were local residents.
Conclusions: Our study contributed to the few studies detailing patients attending chiropractic academic teaching clinics. It provided benchmark demographic and clinical data that may be used for operational planning. Our study suggested that the case mix of this teaching clinic provides interns with appropriate learning opportunities to achieve entry to practice competencies.
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