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Osteopathic Research Updates

Osteopathic Patient Expectations (OPEn) study

The General Osteopathic Council commissioned research into patients’ expectations of osteopathic care as part of a wider programme of work to enhance knowledge of the attitudes, needs and concerns of the public and patients who seek the care of osteopaths. The results of the research have now been published (August 2011) and are available on the OPEn study page .

Audit handbook

An Introduction to Clinical Audit for Practising Osteopaths has been produced by NCOR to enhance osteopaths’ knowledge and understanding of clinical audit.

The GOsC has worked closely with NCOR on the development of the audit handbook as a quality improvement tool and one way in which osteopaths may be able to provide supporting information for the purposes of revalidation. The handbook will be tested during the revalidation pilot.

Research reports relating to osteopathy

The Effectiveness of Manual Therapies – the UK evidence report offers a comprehensive summary of the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of manual therapies in the management of a range of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions.

General Osteopathic Council research

The GOsC also commissions its own research to assess the effectiveness of its regulatory processes and policies. Recent, ongoing and future research projects are listed below.

Standardised data collection project

The aim of this project was to develop and pilot a research tool that would enable osteopaths to collect, share and compare patient data; the data would all be anonymised. The work, which took place between 2008-2010 was led by NCOR. The final report on the data gathered in this pilot is now available. The results will inform osteopathic regulation, further research and practice.

Adverse events

It is the patient’s right to be made as fully aware as possible of any known risks associated with a healthcare intervention, before consenting to treatment. Clause 20 of the GOsC Code of Practice for Osteopaths, along with other associated clauses, relate to information exchange between patients and practitioners and the expectations associated with consent procedures.

To gain a better understanding of any potential risk that may be associated with osteopathic care, four interlinked research projects have been funded by the GOsC. This systematic investigation of adverse events associated with osteopathic care aims to inform and guide osteopaths’ practice and enhance patient safety. Currently, almost all the available information about adverse reactions to manual therapy is based on chiropractic or physiotherapy research.

This GOsC programme of research comprises four studies:

  • Adverse events associated with physical interventions in osteopathy and relevant manual therapies
  • Communicating risk and obtaining consent in osteopathic practice
  • Insurance claim trends and patient complaints to the profession’s regulator
  • Investigation of osteopaths’ attitudes to managing and assessing risk in clinical settings and patients’ experiences and responses to osteopathic treatment.

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