CAM-Oriented Primary Care Providers Result in Cost Savings, High Patient Satisfaction
Patients visiting chiropractors and other holistically-oriented physicians who serve as primary care physicians (PCPs) have lower utilization costs and higher patient satisfaction levels than patients treated by conventional medical doctors, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that tracked data from a unique Independent Physicians Association (IPA) where chiropractors serve as first-contact, primary care physicians.
The recent report analyzes data from 2003 to 2005 and is a follow up to the original report published in 2004, which compared data from1999 to 2002.“Our most recent analysis supports earlier findings that patients visiting CAM-orientated primary care physicians (PCP) – primarily chiropractors – experienced fewer hospitalizations, underwent fewer surgeries and used considerably fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care,”Dr. Winterstein said. “Moreover, doctors of chiropractic succeeded in diagnosing and treating patients at a level nearly equal to medical doctors.”Researchers found that over the course of the seven-year study, patients visiting chiropractors and other CAM-oriented PCPs had 60 percent fewer hospitalizations, 62 percent fewer outpatient surgical cases, and 85 percent lower pharmaceutical costs when compared with total network HMO utilization rates and costs. The chiropractors and other CAM doctors treated and managed cases ranging from upper respiratory tract infections and allergies to headaches, orthopedic and other medical conditions. In 2005, the chiropractic PCPs managed 60 percent of their enrolled patients without requiring a referral to a conventional medical specialist. These data mirror the 2001 findings, which also demonstrated that 60percent of the patient population within the integrative IPA was solely managed by their chiropractic PCPs. “The most current data from our ongoing study suggests that doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to provide patients with valuable primary-care services,” Dr. Winterstein notes. “We have demonstrated that it is possible to deliver CAM-oriented primary care in a highly regulated environment without compromising either quality or safety.”Patients reported on the quality of care they received through the use of annual patient satisfaction surveys.
Dr. Zach's Comments:
- Studies like these have been done in the past and have shown very similar results. Chiropractic Care, because of it's holistic nature and understanding of the body's ability to heal itself, shows time and again to both save you and the system more money.
- Patients in our office often tell us how they have saved significantly more money on health care expenses when they participate in our wellness care program, but quite frankly I cannot take the credit. It's your body and it's God given ability to heal that deserves the accolades. When your body is given what it needs (sufficient nutrients, water, and exercise, a less toxic environment, and a clear nerve pathway), it can and will do amazing things.