Tensions between traditional medicine and chiropractic have existed for more than a century with each side launching accusatory salvos into the other’s camp.
Some medical leaders have attempted to delegitimize chiropractic under the guise that it lacks the “scientific” weight of allopathy (conventional medicine). Chiropractic leaders during much of the 20th century accused medical leaders of deliberately attempting to marginalize chiropractic – which generally takes a holistic, drug-free, cause-based approach to treatment – in an attempt to eliminate competition.
But now medical researchers are pointing to chiropractic as the front-line assault against lower back pain, and medical doctors are increasingly acknowledging the growing body of evidence touting the merits of chiropractic treatment.
An honest assessment of current data can lead to no other conclusion. A study published the medical journal Spine asserts that spinal manipulation therapy for acute, non-specific lower back pain is superior to drug treatment. Spine publishes studies and research on orthopedics.
Why is this important?
Although we have long trumpeted the multi-faceted benefits of chiropractic, the embrace by our colleagues in the medical community is welcome and appreciated. Slow in coming, the acknowledgment only presents the one part of the health-care potential in creating a more unified and comprehensive front to treatment.
The benefits of chiropractic have always been obvious to us; it is our life’s calling, our professional pursuit. However, another realm of opportunities awaits: integrated health-care systems where chiropractors work with traditional medical doctors and other practitioners to provide patients with broad, comprehensive coverage that includes a variety of treatment options.
Medically integrated practices are beginning to attract interest among both chiropractors and an increasing number of physicians looking for alternatives to the pharmaceutical-centered, symptom-based approach to traditional medicine.
The integrated model puts the patient at the center by providing broader treatment options based on collective diagnostic methods that incorporate input from a variety of medical authorities.
Integrated practices – that include chiropractors at the helm with other, more conventional health-care practitioners – not only elevates the chiropractic profession but casts the entire medical industry in a more positive light, one that is no longer profit centered but patient centered.
Patients begin to esteem both chiropractic and traditional medicine more highly and as a result assume greater responsibility for their individual health. Patient outcomes rise as long-term dependency on short-term fixes, such as drug therapies, begin to fade in prominence.
How do they work?
Medically integrating your office involves changing your role in your practice to chief executive and adopting policies that shift the emphasis to a staff-driven business as opposed to the more restrictive personality-centered operation.
Patients at medically integrated offices in most scenarios undergo initial diagnostic examinations from a medical doctor or other medical practitioner, such as a nurse or physician’s assistant.
Following the examination, practitioners in team settings discuss patients’ treatment plans which may include chiropractic care and other forms of nontraditional care.
The emphasis in medically integrated offices shifts to a holistic, whole-body care approach depending on the patient’s constitution, condition and needs. A variety of voices contribute to the treatment discussion leading to more natural and long-lasting outcomes.
On the financial level, integrated offices generate substantially more income. Insurers cover a wider range of services available at practices.
Medically integrated practices also tap into the nearly 100 percent of the patient base that would go to a medical doctor’s office as opposed to only the 14 percent that would seek chiropractic care.
Many chiropractors balk at the opportunities medical integration provides, fearing the obstacles, such as finding medical doctors or other health-care practitioners, are insurmountable.
However, finding practitioners – especially those who agree with your health-care philosophy – is considerably easier than most chiropractors imagine. In fact, increasing numbers of doctors are troubled by traditional medicines’ heavy emphasis on pharmaceuticals and are open to opportunities outside the conventional mainstream.
While the process of integration can be precarious, we at Advanced Medical Integration are at the forefront of this revolutionary trend in American health care.
Our coaches have helped hundreds of chiropractors successfully integrate their practices. Our owners are chiropractors who have integrated their own offices, building large and thriving practices.
Our coaches provide you with workable models and help you implement them into your practice. They are also available to resolve challenges and provide encouragement to build a successfully integrated practice.
Looking at the State of Chiropractic
As it stands today, more than 27 million Americans receive chiropractic treatment per year. More than 1 million adjustments are made every business day in the United States.
All 32 NFL teams use chiropractors to manage players’ and other employees’ back and neck problems.
Research by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine concluded that replacing a doctor’s visit with one with a chiropractor for back pain could save Medicare more than $83 million annually.