Background: The quality of health care provider clinical decisions has long been recognized as variable. Research has focused on clinical decision making with the aim of improving patient outcomes. No studies have looked at chiropractic students´ abilities in this regard.
Method: In 2016, advanced students from two Australian chiropractic programs (N = 444) answered a questionnaire on patient case scenarios for neck and low back pain (LBP). We selected 7 scenarios representing the three categories; continuing care, non-indicated care, and contraindicated care. This represented a total of 21 tested scores. Comparisons of correct answers were made a) for program years 3, 4 and 5, and b) between the three categories of care.
Results: In almost 1/3 of scenarios, correct scores were 70% or greater. Best results were for two neck pain cases (simple and with spinal cord involvement). Continued care showed most improvements with study year. However, the scenarios that reflected non-indication for continued care had much worse results and did not improve in higher years. For the obvious contraindicated neck scenario, the results were good from the beginning and progressively improved and for a contraindicated LBP scenario the results started poorly in year 3 but improved over the program years.
Conclusions: Although student responses were generally good, there is still room for improvement, especially for non-indicated care. The quality of students’ clinical decisions can be measured and thus has the potential to be used by chiropractic educators and regulatory bodies to identify student’s in need of assistance as well as to monitor chiropractic programs in relation to student competence.
Author keywords: Clinical decisions – Diagnosis – Chiropractic – Education
Author affiliations: SII, BFW, CL-Y: Murdoch University. School of Health Professions (Australia / Western Australia / Mandurah); CL-Y: Institut Franco-Européen de Chiropraxie. CIAMS (France / Ivry sur Seine); Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay (France / Orsay Cedex);
Université d’Orléans. CIAMS (France / Orléans); University of Southern Denmark. Institute for Regional Health Research (Denmark / Osense)
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text. PubMed Record