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Osteopathy - Recent Research

2008 – 2010 Standardised data collection programme
Very little is known currently of the national day-to-day practice of osteopaths, and the profile of patients who consult osteopaths or the outcomes of their care. A Programme led by the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR), began in February 2008 to develop and pilot, at national level, a standardised data collection (SDC) tool that would enable osteopaths to collect, share and compare patient data.

The SDC tool was developed by volunteer osteopaths working through the national network of NCOR research hubs, set up primarily for this purpose. The volunteers examined an existing SDC tool, widely used in physiotherapy, for its potential application to osteopathic practice. The osteopaths involved preferred to develop a specific tool for osteopathy to reflect the range of osteopathic practice. The tool underwent a three stage testing process for validity and reliability. Practising osteopaths were invited to participate in a national pilot of the tool between April and July 2009.

The practice data collected via the pilot exercise could represent a first step to developing a comprehensive profile of UK osteopathic practice. The data collected offers a useful “snapshot” of current practice. However, it must be understood that the participating osteopaths were a volunteer sample, and the data collection process will need to be repeated with a systematic sample of the profession involved to confirm the findings of the project. The use of a validated and nationally recognised outcome measure, which is patient completed, will be required for use when the study is repeated.

The project has met its initial objectives of producing a data collection tool suitable for use in osteopathic practice in a variety of formats. NCOR is already leading further work on this and has invited osteopathic stakeholder groups to exchange views on the implementation of the SDC tool for national use and strategies for collecting data that support the work of the various stakeholder groups (including the GOsC, the British Osteopathic Association and the Osteopathic Educational Institutions.)

The full report can be accessed with this link: Standardised data collection within osteopathic practice in the UK .

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