Who should I see for care?
posted: Sep. 28, 2017.
When we are suffering and are feeling the need for intervention with a health care provider there are three things most people want to know.
-What type of treatment or doctor will be effective for my condition?
-How long will it take to get better?
-How much will it cost?
Often our friends and family will point us in directions that have worked for them or we may consult reseach to try to answer these questions. Doctors often read research studies to try to improve their processes and techniques for best patient outcomes. For specific treatments or interventions, doctors typically review high quality research, typically, Randomized Controlled Trials, Systematic Reviews or Meta Analyses; however, Prospective Observational Studies or Cohort Studies are often very effective at answering a patient's three important questions. An example of a Cohort or Observational study would be when an insurance company looks at a large body of data with a specific question and set parameters. In this scenario patients have aleady been treated and the insurance company is simply assessing outcomes. While this information is not very good at telling a doctor how to treat a patient, it is great at directing a patient toward the outcomes they desire.
There have been three major studies of observational design published relatively recently that address how patients with back pain respond to chiropractic care versus other types of care and what associated costs were between different types of care.
The first study of note, published in September of 2016 in the Journal of Occupational Rahbilitation, reviewed financial compensation and duration of care for back pain between Doctors of Chiropractic, Medical Doctors and Physical Therapists. The results were strongly significant. Patients that went to a chiropractor first had shorter durations of care, less cost of care and fewer recurring episodes for the remainder of the year compared to MDs and PTs. Surprisingly, Medical Doctors significantly outperformed PTs in both cost and duration of care.
The second significant study of similar design was published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 2010. It compared outcomes between patients that either first saw a Doctor of Chiropractic or a Medical Doctor for back pain. The insurance company found that paid costs per episode initiated with a DC was nearly 40% less than when care was initiated by an MD. Episodes were measured from first visit to last and 60 days between treatments constituted a new episode of care.
The final study of note was published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 2004. As opposed to simply looking at health care data within an insurance company, this study was designed differently than the previous two mentioned. The study spanned 7 years. Doctors of Chiropractic were in the position of Primary Care Provider for all conditions, not just back pain. The medical community pre-screened the DCs for inclusion in the study. This Randomized Observational Study compared the care initiated with a DC versus MDs. This study found that when DCs were used as Primary Care Providers there was a 43% decrease in hospital admissions and outpatient surgeries, a 58% decrease in hospital days and a 52% decrease in pharmaceutical costs compared with MDs. Furthermore, the patient satisfaction rate, measured by survey was between 97 and 100% for the DC group, while patient satisfaction was between 87-89% for the MD group. Additionally,when the medical community screened patient care notes from the DC group, they agreed with recommended treatment over 93% of the time.
The take away from this information is that, if you have back pain, a doctor of chiropractic should be the first choice in care. In addition to care for back pain, if a DC is well trained, they serve as excellent Primary Care Providers that are capable of either treating your condition effectively or referring you to the appropriate care provider, potentially saving a considerable amount of money and time while reducing unnecessary procedures.
Your doctors at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic have been trained and are Certified Medical Examiners. They are the type of doctors that were included in the study of note. Call to schedule if you would like a consultation or appointment with one of the doctors at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic. If their services are not the right treatment for you they will advocate for you and refer you to the appropriate care provider for your needs.