Home' OsteoLife : OsteoLife Summer 2015 Contents 22 Osteopathy Australia
a defining moment
Exciting research to map osteopathy practice in
Australia is set to begin in 2015.
caitlin reid interviewing professor jon adams
ridging the gap between research and osteopathy
practitioners, the project aims to shed light on the day-
to-day practice of osteopathy in Australia, including what
techniques are used, which patient populations are treated
and what outcomes are achieved. This extensive research
is the first of its kind and will provide valuable insight for osteopaths
and other health professionals, to gain greater understanding of
the osteopathy profession as a whole. The project will spark further
sub-studies to greater explore osteopathy education, practice and the
future of the profession.
The project is being undertaken by a group of UTS researchers led
by Professor Jon Adams. Adams is an experienced health and health
services researcher and Senior Fellow of the Oxford International
Research Leadership Program at the University of Oxford. He has also
authored 235 peer-reviewed publications since 2000, including Senior
Editorship of six international research books. We asked Adams 11
questions about the research’s significance to the osteopathy industry.
1whatwas the Catalyst fOr the
Little is known about the details of osteopathy practice in
Australia from patient populations, to treatment types and outcomes.
Without this insight and the mapping of daily practice, it’s hard to
move forward into other research areas within the profession.
The project is about starting from the grass roots of osteopathy. It’s
not an experimental design written by a researcher. It’s about collecting
data that aligns with day-to-day practice. The research will answer
questions like: What happens in osteopathy in Australia? What is
insightful and important in terms of evidence base within osteopathy?
We want to discover what is happening in osteopathy practice: which
treatments are used, what experiences patients and osteopaths have,
what types of patients are being treated, what their outcomes are, and
what practitioners do within in each consultation.
2whyis this researCh sO iMpOrtant
tO the inDustry?
This research will give valuable insight into the profession,
and marks the first step in creating an evidence-base in osteopathy.
It’s not just about the next few years; the research will allow us to set
up a platform the profession can build on for many years. It is also
an opportunity for osteopaths to be a part of a significant, empirical-
based research project.
3yOu haVe an inCreDiBle histOry in
researCh within the MeDiCal anD allieD
health fielD. what MaDe yOu want tO
Be inVOlVeD in this partiCular prOJeCt?
I became interested in the project because osteopathy is on the move.
It’s developing and it’s moving toward mainstream and conventional
care. Because it is ‘on the move’ it’s a great time to conduct research to
see exactly what’s happening at this time in osteopathy’s evolution.
I also became involved as I’ve always had a keen interest in bringing
together practitioners and researchers. Too often researchers take
charge of research questions while disregarding practitioners. This
means many of their insights can have no real clinical relevance.
I wanted to bridge the gap between the two parties to create a
truly significant and meaningful research project that was relevant
4whatDOes the researCh prOJeCt inVOlVe?
First we’ll conduct a national survey of osteopaths to gain
insight into their behaviours, approaches and day-to-day
practice. The second phase involves looking at more detailed questions
about practice, as well as examining patient experience and outcomes.
This research really comes down to the participation of osteopaths.
We need as many participants as possible to help us make the
study reliable and valuable to the profession. It’s an exciting way for
osteopaths to be empowered within their profession, while being part
of a significant research initiative to help develop an evidence-base.
5whatDO yOu hOpe tO aChieVe?
We hope to develop a sustainable research culture and
evidence-base that is directly relevant to, and reflects, the
concerns and practice of osteopaths.
Rather than just being a project that comes and goes, we’re hoping
to establish a platform the profession can build on, and develop an
advanced and co-ordinated approach. The project is about mapping
practice and underpinning practice with evidence. As researchers, we
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