Background: Councils of Chiropractic Education (CCE) indirectly influence patient care and safety through their role of ensuring the standards of training delivered by chiropractic educational institutions. This is achieved by a process of accreditation where CCEs define and assess graduate competencies and educational standards. A previous study comparing CCE graduate competencies found variations between the CCE jurisdictions. It was proffered that variations in standards may potentially compromise patient care and safety and also inter-jurisdictional mutual recognition. This study continues the examination of CCEs by looking for similarities and differences in CCE accreditation standards.
There were two purposes of this review. The first was to compare the accreditation standards, domains of accreditation standards, and components of the domains of accreditation standards as represented by the domains of “Mission, goals, vision, objectives”, “Resources”, “Faculty/Academic staff”, “Educational program/curriculum”. In addition, we compared the accreditation standards between CCEs and those of the widely accepted medical accreditation standards of the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME), in order to search for deficiencies and opportunities for improvements in these standards.
The second purpose was to make recommendations, if significant deficiencies or variations were found.
Method: We undertook a systematic review of the similarities and differences between five CCEs’ definitions of an accreditation standard and the descriptive lists of accreditation standards they have adopted. CCE selection criteria and data selection method were undertaken in a systematic manner. This information was tabulated for a comparative analysis and took place in April 2016.
Results: Only two CCEs had a definition of the term “accreditation / educational standard”. At the domain level there was considerably more similarities than differences. The differences became more apparent when the comparisons were made at the component level. These included intended purposes of the mission statement, standards for faculty staff, requirements for clinical training by students, program budgetary autonomy and transparency, the inclusion of chiropractic philosophy and history, and which subjects should be taught in basic, behavioural and clinical sciences.
Conclusions: A series of recommendations were made. These included the need for an increased clarity of the required basic and clinical science subjects, teaching clinic student requirements, and faculty staff qualifications. These are proposed with the intention of creating uniform and high quality international accreditation standards for chiropractic education. Future research should compare the levels of CCEs inspection standards and processes to see if similarities and differences exist also there.
Author keywords: Councils on chiropractic education—Standards of accreditation—Similarities—Differences
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