Objective: The purpose of this study was to survey U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VA) chiropractors to assess current demographic and professional characteristics, including practice parameters, interprofessional collaboration, academic experience, and scholarly activity.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed from August 21, 2019, to September 6, 2019, including all chiropractors identified with any VA appointment. REDCap software was used to conduct the survey. Data from surveys were exported to Microsoft Excel for data analysis.
Results: Of the 177 providers solicited, 118 returned completed surveys (67% response rate). Respondents predominantly self-reported as white (84%) and male (77.1%), with a mean age of 47 years, and reported spending at least 75% of time on clinical care. Most respondents reported being VA employees (96%) with full-time appointments (94%). Approximately half reported having prior hospital training (48%), supervising chiropractic students (53%) and students in other health professions (47%), and authoring or coauthoring ≥1 peer-reviewed publications (42%). Respondents reported performing an average of 6 to 15 new-patient consultations and 31 to 60 follow-up visits per week. Most patient referrals to chiropractic care originated from primary care providers, with low back conditions without radiculopathy as the most frequently seen condition. Diversified manipulation and flexion-distraction techniques, along with myofascial therapies, therapeutic exercises, and self-management advice, were the most commonly reported interventions.
Conclusion: We report provider and practice characteristics from chiropractors working in a large, integrated health care system. Most are full-time employees, work in physical medicine departments, and have held their position for up to 5 years. The majority of respondents report diagnostic and treatment approaches concordant with current clinical practice guidelines.
Author keywords: Chiropractic; Integrative Medicine; Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine; Surveys and Questionnaires; Veterans
Author affiliations: SMH, BCC, TK, AJL: Yale Center for Medical Informatics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut; CRL: Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport, Iowa; CG: Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
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