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1.  The provision of chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathic services within the Australian private health-care system: a report of recent trends 
Background
Chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths receive training in the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal conditions. As a result there is considerable overlap in the types of conditions that are encountered clinically by these practitioners. In Australia, the majority of benefits paid for these services come from the private sector. The purpose of this article is to quantify and describe the development in service utilization and the cost of benefits paid to users of these healthcare services by private health insurers. An exploration of the factors that may have influenced the observed trends is also presented.
Methods
A review of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Administration Council was conducted. An analysis of chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathic service utilisation and cost of service utilisation trend was performed along with the level of benefits and services over time.
Results
In 2012, the number of physiotherapists working in the private sector was 2.9 times larger than that of chiropractic, and 7.8 times that of the osteopathic profession. The total number of services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths increased steadily over the past 15 years. For the majority of this period, chiropractors provided more services than the other two professions. The average number of services provided by chiropractors was approximately two and a half times that of physiotherapists and four and a half times that of osteopaths.
Conclusions
This study highlights a clear disparity in the average number of services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths in the private sector in Australia over the last 15 years. Further research is required to explain these observed differences and to determine whether a similar trend exists in patients who do not have private health insurance cover.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-22-3
PMCID: PMC3896731  PMID: 24428934
Chiropractic; Physiotherapy; Osteopathy; Allied health; Healthcare utilisation
2.  An indication of current views of Australian general practitioners towards chiropractic and osteopathy: a cross-sectional study 
Background
While the role of complementary medicine therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathy is yet to be clearly delineated in the Australian context, demand for these services remains high. The attitudes of general practitioners towards chiropractors and osteopaths may have played a part in producing this outcome. However, this view is based on data that were more than 10 years old. Current anecdotal evidence suggests that the previous level of support may be declining in sections of the Australian medical profession. An assessment of the current views of general practitioners towards chiropractors and osteopaths is called for. The results being reported here represent the first stage of this assessment.
Methods
This cross-sectional study was designed as a quantitative descriptive study using an anonymous online survey that included closed and open-ended questions with opportunities provided for free text. The target population was Australian general practitioners. Inclusion criteria included current medical registration, membership of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and currently practicing as a general practitioner in Australia. The data being reported here were collected between May and December, 2014.
Results
There were 630 respondents to the online survey during this period representing a response rate of 2.6 %. Results were not uniform for the two professions. More general practitioners believed chiropractic education was not evidence-based compared to osteopathic education (70 % and 50 % respectively) while scope of practice was viewed as similar for both professions. A majority of general practitioners had never referred a patient to either profession (chiropractic: 60 %; osteopathy: 66 %) with approximately two-thirds not interested in learning more about their education (chiropractors: 68 %; osteopaths: 63 %).
Conclusions
This study provides an indication of the current views of Australian general practitioners towards chiropractors and osteopaths. The findings suggest that attitudes may have become less favourable with a growing intolerance towards both professions. If confirmed, this has the potential to impact health service provision. The results from this cross-sectional study suggest that obtaining representative general practitioner views using online surveys is difficult and another approach is needed to supplement or replace the current recruitment strategy.'
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12998-016-0119-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12998-016-0119-6
PMCID: PMC5088656  PMID: 27822360
Chiropractic; Osteopathy; General Practitioners; Complementary Medicine
3.  Referrals to chiropractors and osteopaths: a survey of general practitioners in rural and regional New South Wales, Australia 
Background
Chiropractic and osteopathy form a significant part of the healthcare setting in rural and regional Australia, with national registration of practitioners, public subsidies for services and high utilisation by the Australian public. However, despite their significant role in rural and regional Australia, there has been little exploration of the interface between chiropractic and osteopathy and conventional primary health care practitioners in this area. The study aim was to examine the referral practices and factors that underlie referral to chiropractors and osteopaths by rural and regional Australian general practitioners (GPs), by drawing on a sample of GPs in rural and regional New South Wales.
Methods
A 27-item questionnaire was sent to all 1486 GPs currently practising in rural and regional Divisions of General Practice in New South Wales, Australia.
Results
A total of 585 GPs responded to the questionnaire, with 49 questionnaires returned as “no longer at this address” (response rate: 40.7%). The majority of GPs (64.1%) referred to a chiropractor or osteopath at least a few times per year while 21.7% stated that they would not refer to a chiropractor or osteopath under any circumstances. Patients asking the GP about CAM (OR=3.59; CI: 1.12, 11.55), GP’s use of CAM practitioners as a major source of information (OR=4.39; 95% CI: 2.04, 9.41), lack of other treatment options (OR=2.41; 95% CI: 1.18, 5.12), access to a wide variety of medical specialists (OR=12.5; 95% CI: 2.4, 50.0), GP’s belief in the efficacy of chiropractic and osteopathy services (OR=3.39; 95% CI: 2.19, 5.25) and experiencing positive results from patients using these services previously (OR=1.67; CI: 1.02, 2.75) were all independently predictive of increased referral to chiropractic and osteopathy services amongst the rural GPs.
Conclusions
There is a significant interface between chiropractic and osteopathy and Australian rural and regional general practice in New South Wales. Although there is generally high support for chiropractic and osteopathy among Australian GPs, this was not absolute and the heterogeneity of responses suggests that there remain tensions between the professions. The significant interface between chiropractic and osteopathy may be due in part to the inclusion of these professions in the publicly subsidised national healthcare delivery scheme. The significant impact of chiropractic and osteopathy and general practice in rural and regional Australian healthcare delivery should serve as an impetus for increased research into chiropractic and osteopathy practice, policy and regulation in these areas.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-5
PMCID: PMC3599860  PMID: 23369205
Chiropractic; Osteopathy; General practice; Rural healthcare; Health services; Referral; Interdisciplinary care; Primary care
4.  Chiropractors & Osteopaths Musculo-Skeletal Interest Group (COMSIG) 
COMSIG Review  1992;1(1):2.
The Chiropractors & Osteopaths Musculo-Skeletal Interest Group evolved from regular clinical meetings at Ringwood Clinic, a multi-disciplinary clinic in Melbourne
In 1987 the Directors of the clinic Bruce F. Walker D.C. and Alison Hogg MB.BS. (Hons), FRACGP. Decided to invite a range of guest speakers (on musculo-skeletal topics) to give an address every 6 weeks
Local practitioners of all persuasions were invited to attend these meetings. Although all groups were represented, by far the greatest interest shown by the chiropractors and osteopaths
In 1989 Peter D. Werth B.App.Sc.(Chiro) joined the team and together with the writer formulated a plan to broaden the list of invited guests to all registered chiropractors and osteopaths in Melbourne
Naturally, this required a larger venue and organisation. After several successful meetings attracting groups of 60 to 70 practitioners we formalised the COMSIG organisation and gained the invaluable assistance of David de l Harpe B.Sc., B.App.Sc.(Chiro), MB.,BS., Shane Carter B.App.Sc.(Chiro) and Simon Clement D.O. on our committee. More recently Shane Carter left for overseas and was ably replaced by Miriam Bourke B.App.Sc.(Chiro)
This year COMSIG incorporated under the name of the long established Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia
So, what is COMSIG and what are it’s objectives? COMSIG is a special interest group of the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia. More specifically, it is an affiliation of Chiropractors and Osteopaths with interests pertaining to the musculo-skeletal system
The objectives for which COMSIG was established are: to promote knowledge of disorders of the musculo-skeletal system.to provide a forum for the interchange of ideas related to such disorders.to educate chiropractors, osteopaths and other health professionals about the diagnosis and management of such disorders.to encourage the diagnosis and management of musculo-skeletal disorders in a scientific and ethical manner.to conduct, promote, and arrange meetings, seminars, symposia, conferences, and lectures on musculo-skeletal disorders.to foster research into musculo-skeletal disorders.
Importantly, COMSIG is not a political organisation but rather an academic organisation arising from the practitioner ranks of the professions
We encourage all those with an interest in musculo-skeletal disorders to join COMSIG and participate in its development. An application form is enclosed, or available from the Secretary…
PMCID: PMC2050005  PMID: 17989738
Chiropractic; osteopathy; Australia; education
5.  Osteopathic intervention in chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review 
Background
Chronic Non Specific Low Back Pain (CNSLBP) is a common, complex and disabling condition that has been present for longer than three months and is not caused by a serious pathology. Osteopaths are health practitioners who commonly diagnose and treat CNSLBP patients using a complex set of interventions that includes manual therapy. The study aimed to complete a Systematic Review of clinical research into osteopathic intervention in CNSLBP using a rigorous assessment of study quality.
Methods
The literature was searched to August 2011 using the following databases: AMED, CINAHL Plus, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, MEDLINE Plus, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, PEDro, ScienceDirect. Multiple search terms were used in various combinations: osteopathy/osteopathic, osteopathic manipulative technique, OMT, Spinal Manipulative Therapy, SMT, clinical trial, back pain, chronic back pain. The inclusion criteria were papers that: reported clinical trials; had adult participants; tested the effectiveness and/or efficacy of osteopathic manual therapy intervention applied by osteopaths, and had a study condition of CNSLBP. The quality of the papers was assessed using the Cochrane Back Review Risk of Bias criteria. A meta-analysis would proceed if the studies had adequate clinical and methodological homogeneity.
Results
Initial searches revealed 809 papers, 772 of which were excluded on the basis of abstract alone. The remaining 37 trial papers were subjected to a more detailed analysis of the full text, which resulted in 35 being excluded. The two remaining trials had a lack of methodological and clinical homogeneity, precluding a meta-analysis. The trials used different comparators with regards to the primary outcomes, the number of treatments, the duration of treatment and the duration of follow-up.
Conclusion
There are only two studies assessing the effect of the manual therapy intervention applied by osteopathic clinicians in adults with CNSLBP. One trial concluded that the osteopathic intervention was similar in effect to a sham intervention, and the other suggests similarity of effect between osteopathic intervention, exercise and physiotherapy. Further clinical trials into this subject are required that have consistent and rigorous methods. These trials need to include an appropriate control and utilise an intervention that reflects actual practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-129
PMCID: PMC3623881  PMID: 23570655
Systematic review; Osteopathy; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Low back pain; Chronic low back pain; Non-specific low back pain; Manual therapy; Clinical trial methodology
6.  Informed consent in paediatric critical care research – a South African perspective 
BMC Medical Ethics  2015;16:62.
Background
Medical care of critically ill and injured infants and children globally should be based on best research evidence to ensure safe, efficacious treatment. In South Africa and other low and middle-income countries, research is needed to optimise care and ensure rational, equitable allocation of scare paediatric critical care resources.
Ethical oversight is essential for safe, appropriate research conduct. Informed consent by the parent or legal guardian is usually required for child research participation, but obtaining consent may be challenging in paediatric critical care research. Local regulations may also impede important research if overly restrictive.
By narratively synthesising and contextualising the results of a comprehensive literature review, this paper describes ethical principles and regulations; potential barriers to obtaining prospective informed consent; and consent options in the context of paediatric critical care research in South Africa.
Discussion
Voluntary prospective informed consent from a parent or legal guardian is a statutory requirement for child research participation in South Africa. However, parents of critically ill or injured children might be incapable of or unwilling to provide the level of consent required to uphold the ethical principle of autonomy. In emergency care research it may not be practical to obtain consent when urgent action is required. Therapeutic misconceptions and sociocultural and language issues are also barriers to obtaining valid consent.
Alternative consent options for paediatric critical care research include a waiver or deferred consent for minimal risk and/or emergency research, whilst prospective informed consent is appropriate for randomised trials of novel therapies or devices.
Summary
We propose that parents or legal guardians of critically ill or injured children should only be approached to consent for their child’s participation in clinical research when it is ethically justifiable and in the best interests of both child participant and parent. Where appropriate, alternatives to prospective informed consent should be considered to ensure that important paediatric critical care research can be undertaken in South Africa, whilst being cognisant of research risk. This document could provide a basis for debate on consent options in paediatric critical care research and contribute to efforts to advocate for South African law reform.
doi:10.1186/s12910-015-0052-6
PMCID: PMC4565047  PMID: 26354389
7.  THE JOURNAL OF THE CHIROPRACTIC & OSTEOPATHIC COLLEGE OF AUSTRALASIA 
The first edition of the Journal of the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia was known as COMSIG Review and was published in November, 1992 to coincide with a large conference that COCA had organised in Melbourne.
In the first few years the majority of articles were magazine style reviews, similar to these found in the Australian Family Physician. The first Editor was Bruce Walker and subsequent Editors have included John Drinkwater, Stephanie Campbell and John Reggars. The current Editors in Chief, Peter Tuchin and Henry Pollard, are staff members at Macquarie University, Centre of Chiropractic, with a strong background in science and research and both are currently undertaking post-graduate research degrees.
Over several years the magazine review style was changed in keeping with a more full journal format. An Editorial Board was formed, comprised of chiropractors, osteopaths and medical practitioners, some of whom are world renowned in their particular field of research.
By March, 1996 it was decided to change the name of the journal to Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy (ACO). This was a purposeful move to reflect the maturing of the journal and also the growth of the College and in the five years since November 1992, seventy-nine scientific articles have been published.
It is anticipated that the journal will continue to be widely distributed throughout the world, with current subscriptions from all Australian undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic institutions and the vast majority of international undergraduate institutions.
ACO is currently indexed with Mantis (formerly Chirolars). The Editorial Panel continue to strive for Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy inclusion into Index Medicus and thereby Medline. However, it is recognised that readership of chiropractic journals is very low throughout the world and it is unlikely in the near future that any chiropractic journal other than the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics will be included in Index Medicus.
The lack of mainstream international indexing will not stop or prevent the College from producing a first rate journal into the future years of the professions. In fact with the now steady growth in Australian chiropractic and osteopathic research, it is envisaged that ACO will be Australia's leading professional journal. We trust our membership enjoy reading the journal and find many of its articles instructional.
We look forward to any comments from members relating to the production of the journal and any suggestions will be welcomed.
PMCID: PMC2050635  PMID: 17989763
Australasian Chiropractic Osteopathy; journal
8.  Testing the effectiveness of an innovative information package on practitioner reported behaviour and beliefs: The UK Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists Low back pain ManagemENT (COMPLeMENT) trial [ISRCTN77245761] 
Background
Low back pain (LBP) is a common and costly problem. Initiatives designed to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate healthcare for LBP include printed evidence-based clinical guidelines. The three professional groups of chiropractic, osteopathy and musculoskeletal physiotherapy in the UK share common ground with their approaches to managing LBP and are amongst those targeted by LBP guidelines. Even so, many seem unaware that such guidelines exist. Furthermore, the behaviour of at least some of these practitioners differs from that recommended in these guidelines.
Few randomised controlled trials evaluating printed information as an intervention to change practitioner behaviour have utilised a no-intervention control. All these trials have used a cluster design and most have methodological flaws. None specifically focus upon practitioner behaviour towards LBP patients. Studies that have investigated other strategies to change practitioner behaviour with LBP patients have produced conflicting results. Although numerous LBP guidelines have been developed worldwide, there is a paucity of data on whether their dissemination actually changes practitioner behaviour. Primarily because of its low unit cost, sending printed information to large numbers of practitioners is an attractive dissemination and implementation strategy. The effect size of such a strategy, at an individual practitioner level, is likely to be small. However, if large numbers of practitioners are targeted, this strategy might achieve meaningful changes at a population level.
Methods
The primary aim of this prospective, pragmatic randomised controlled trial is to test the short-term effectiveness (six-months following intervention) of a directly-posted information package on the reported clinical behaviour (primary outcome), attitudes and beliefs of UK chiropractors, osteopaths and musculoskeletal physiotherapists. We sought to randomly allocate a combined sample of 1,800 consenting practitioners to receive either the information package (intervention arm) or no information above that gained during normal practice (control arm). We collected questionnaire data at baseline and six-months post-intervention. The analysis of the primary outcome will assess between-arm differences of proportions of responses to questions on recommendations about activity, work and bed-rest, that fall within categories previously defined by an expert consensus exercise as either 'guideline-consistent' and 'guideline-inconsistent'.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-41
PMCID: PMC1208895  PMID: 16033646
9.  Extending ICPC-2 PLUS terminology to develop a classification system specific for the study of chiropractic encounters 
Background
Typically a large amount of information is collected during healthcare research and this information needs to be organised in a way that will make it manageable and to facilitate clear reporting. The Chiropractic Observation and Analysis STudy (COAST) was a cross sectional observational study that described the clinical practices of chiropractors in Victoria, Australia. To code chiropractic encounters COAST used the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2) with the PLUS general practice clinical terminology to code chiropractic encounters. This paper describes the process by which a chiropractic-profession specific terminology was developed for use in research by expanding the current ICPC-2 PLUS system.
Methods
The coder referred to the ICPC-2 PLUS system when coding chiropractor recorded encounter details (reasons for encounter, diagnoses/problems and processes of care). The coder used rules and conventions supplied by the Family Medicine Research Unit at the University of Sydney, the developers of the PLUS system. New chiropractic specific terms and codes were created when a relevant term was not available in ICPC-2 PLUS.
Results
Information was collected from 52 chiropractors who documented 4,464 chiropractor-patient encounters. During the study, 6,225 reasons for encounter and 6,491 diagnoses/problems were documented, coded and analysed; 169 new chiropractic specific terms were added to the ICPC-2 PLUS terminology list. Most new terms were allocated to diagnoses/problems, with reasons for encounter generally well covered in the original ICPC 2 PLUS terminology: 3,074 of the 6,491 (47%) diagnoses/problems and 274 of the 6,225 (4%) reasons for encounter recorded during encounters were coded to a new term. Twenty nine new terms (17%) represented chiropractic processes of care.
Conclusion
While existing ICPC-2 PLUS terminology could not fully represent chiropractic practice, adding terms specific to chiropractic enabled coding of a large number of chiropractic encounters at the desired level. Further, the new system attempted to record the diversity among chiropractic encounters while enabling generalisation for reporting where required. COAST is ongoing, and as such, any further encounters received from chiropractors will enable addition and refinement of ICPC-2 PLUS (Chiro). More research is needed into the diagnosis/problem descriptions used by chiropractors.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-4
PMCID: PMC3563572  PMID: 23311664
Chiropractic; International classification of primary care; Classification; Clinical coding
10.  Understanding clinical reasoning in osteopathy: a qualitative research approach 
Background
Clinical reasoning has been described as a process that draws heavily on the knowledge, skills and attributes that are particular to each health profession. However, the clinical reasoning processes of practitioners of different disciplines demonstrate many similarities, including hypothesis generation and reflective practice. The aim of this study was to understand clinical reasoning in osteopathy from the perspective of osteopathic clinical educators and the extent to which it was similar or different from clinical reasoning in other health professions.
Methods
This study was informed by constructivist grounded theory. Participants were clinical educators in osteopathic teaching institutions in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Focus groups and written critical reflections provided a rich data set. Data were analysed using constant comparison to develop inductive categories.
Results
According to participants, clinical reasoning in osteopathy is different from clinical reasoning in other health professions. Osteopaths use a two-phase approach: an initial biomedical screen for serious pathology, followed by use of osteopathic reasoning models that are based on the relationship between structure and function in the human body. Clinical reasoning in osteopathy was also described as occurring in a number of contexts (e.g. patient, practitioner and community) and drawing on a range of metaskills (e.g. hypothesis generation and reflexivity) that have been described in other health professions.
Conclusions
The use of diagnostic reasoning models that are based on the relationship between structure and function in the human body differentiated clinical reasoning in osteopathy. These models were not used to name a medical condition but rather to guide the selection of treatment approaches. If confirmed by further research that clinical reasoning in osteopathy is distinct from clinical reasoning in other health professions, then osteopaths may have a unique perspective to bring to multidisciplinary decision-making and potentially enhance the quality of patient care.
Where commonalities exist in the clinical reasoning processes of osteopathy and other health professions, shared learning opportunities may be available, including the exchange of scaffolded clinical reasoning exercises and assessment practices among health disciplines.
doi:10.1186/s12998-016-0087-x
PMCID: PMC4782380  PMID: 26958339
11.  The nature of the informed consent doctrine and the chiropractor 
This paper examines in part, the doctrine of informed consent for chiropractic treatment. The roles of the chiropractor and the patient are discussed as related to verbal consent, written consent, informed consent and implied consent. Is it the responsibility of the rational patient to provide consent or is it the role of the chiropractor to seek it? As well, some of the fundamental rights of the patient are discussed and the applicable sections of the Canadian Chiropractic Association Code of Ethics and standards of practice are reviewed. The concepts of material disclosure and the criteria for valid patient consent are presented.
PMCID: PMC2484849
chiropractic; informed consent; code of ethics
12.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
13.  Management of people with acute low-back pain: a survey of Australian chiropractors 
Introduction
Chiropractors commonly provide care to people with acute low-back pain (LBP). The aim of this survey was to determine how chiropractors intend to support and manage people with acute LBP and if this management is in accordance with two recommendations from an Australian evidence-based acute LBP guideline. The two recommendations were directed at minimising the use of plain x-ray and encouraging the patient to stay active.
Methods
This is a cross sectional survey of chiropractors in Australia. This paper is part of the ALIGN study in which a targeted implementation strategy was developed to improve the management of acute LBP in a chiropractic setting. This implementation strategy was subsequently tested in a cluster randomised controlled trial. In this survey phase of the ALIGN study we approached a random sample of 880 chiropractors in three States of Australia. The mailed questionnaire consisted of five patient vignettes designed to represent people who would typically present to chiropractors with acute LBP. Four vignettes represented people who, according to the guideline, would not require a plain lumbar x-ray, and one vignette represented a person with a suspected vertebral fracture. Respondents were asked, for each vignette, to indicate which investigation(s) they would order, and which intervention(s) they would recommend or undertake.
Results
Of the 880 chiropractors approached, 137 were deemed ineligible to participate, mostly because they were not currently practising, or mail was returned to sender. We received completed questionnaires from 274 chiropractors (response rate of 37%). Male chiropractors made up 66% of respondents, 75% practised in an urban location and their mean number of years in practice was 15. Across the four vignettes where an x-ray was not indicated 68% (95% Confidence Intervals (CI): 64%, 71%) of chiropractors responded that they would order or take an x-ray. In addition 51% (95%CI: 47%, 56%) indicated they would give advice to stay active when it was indicated. For the vignette where a fracture was suspected, 95% (95% CI: 91%, 97%) of chiropractors would order an x-ray.
Conclusion
The intention of chiropractors surveyed in this study shows low adherence to two recommendations from an evidence-based guideline for acute LBP. Quality of care for these patients could be improved through effective implementation of evidence-based guidelines. Further research to find cost-effective methods to increase implementation is warranted.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-19-29
PMCID: PMC3265419  PMID: 22171632
14.  The establishment of the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia in Queensland (1996–2002) 
Introduction
For chiropractors and osteopaths after graduation, the learning process continues by way of experience and continuing education (CE). The provision of CE and other vocational services in Queensland between 1996 and 2002 is the subject of this paper.
Methods
The Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia (COCA) implemented a plan, which involved continuing education, with speakers from a broad variety of health provider areas; and the introduction of the concepts of evidence-based practice. The plan also involved building membership.
Results
Membership of COCA in Queensland grew from 3 in June 1996 to 167 in 2002. There were a total of 25 COCA symposia in the same period. Evidence-based health care was introduced and attendees were generally satisfied with the conferences.
Discussion
The development of a vocational body (COCA) for chiropractors and osteopaths in Queensland was achieved. Registrants in the field have supported an organisation that concentrates on the vocational aspects of their practice.
doi:10.1186/1746-1340-13-3
PMCID: PMC1151651  PMID: 15967046
Chiropractic; osteopathy; continuing education; vocational education; evidence-based practice; Queensland
15.  The new chiropractic 
Background
Physical manipulation and manual therapies are thousands of years old. The most popular western world iteration of these therapies is delivered by chiropractors. It can be argued that the collective public health benefit from chiropractic for spinal pain has been very substantial, however as chiropractic has transitioned from craft to profession it has encountered many internally and externally driven machinations that have retarded its progress to a fully accepted allied health profession. This article sets out a ten point plan for a new chiropractic that will achieve full acceptance for this troubled profession.
Discussion
This article is based on a keynote speech known as the FG Roberts Memorial Address delivered on October 10, 2015, in Melbourne, Australia at the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia and Chiropractic Australia national conference.
The ten point plan consists of the following: improving the pre-professional education of chiropractors, establishing a progressive identity, developing a special interest for the profession, marginalising the nonsensical elements of the profession, being pro-public health, supporting the legitimate organised elements of the profession, improving clinical practice, embracing evidence based practice, supporting research and showing personal leadership.
Conclusion
Adherence to this fresh ten point plan will, over time, see the chiropractic profession gain full legitimacy in the allied health field and acceptance by other health providers, policy makers and the public at large.
doi:10.1186/s12998-016-0108-9
PMCID: PMC4928313  PMID: 27366317
Chiropractic; Legitimacy; Evidence based practice; The new chiropractic
16.  A COMPARISON OF THE PATIENT DEMOGRAPHICS OF VICTORIAN CHIROPRACTIC AND OSTEOPATHIC CLINICS 
COMSIG review  1994;3(2):48-53.
While there are studies that describe the patient demographics of both Australian and American chiropractic clinics, such information appears difficult to find for physiotherapy or osteopathic clinics comparative data of any kind doesn't appear to exist. This study attempted to provide this data for Australian practices and to analyse any similarities or differences between populations.
Results obtained for chiropractors and osteopaths would appear to suggest that there may be significant differences between the diagnostic profiles of the two professions. Physiotherapists withdrew from the - process during data collection.
Suggestions are made relating to possible modifications I to the survey instrument and possible directions any future study might take.
PMCID: PMC2050142
Patients; statistics and numerical dam demography; utilisation; chiropractic; osteopathy; databases
17.  Contemporary chiropractic practice in the UK: a field study of a chiropractor and his patients in a suburban chiropractic clinic 
Background
Two recent surveys of chiropractors in Great Britain suggest that there are discrepancies between chiropractic practice as defined in regulatory guidelines and day-to-day chiropractic clinical practice and there is in general a paucity of information regarding the characteristics of contemporary chiropractic practice in the United Kingdom. This field study describes the daily practice of a contemporary British UK-trained chiropractor.
Methods
The fieldwork took place during the spring and summer of 2008 when the author spent one day per week observing consultations and interviewing patients in a chiropractic clinic. The chiropractor was subjected to interviews on two occasions. The author also registered as a patient. Field notes were taken by the author, interviews were recorded and the transcripts were corrected and analysed by the author.
Results
A total of 25 patients took part in the study. The interaction that took place between patients and staff in reception could be considered as a prelude to consultation facilitating the transformation from individual to patient and back to individual. Coupled with the continuous physical contact between the chiropractor and each patient there was a substantial amount of verbal and non-verbal communication throughout treatment visits. The patients presented with predominantly musculo-skeletal pain and the majority had consulted the chiropractor as a result of recommendations from others in their close social environment. The majority of the interviewed patients had either an inaccurate or at best rudimentary understanding of the mechanisms of chiropractic treatment. A few of the interviewed patients indicated that they had at first experienced concerns about the nature of chiropractic treatment or getting undressed. The author was able to gain some insight into how the chiropractor's experiences, opinions and beliefs had shaped his approach to chiropractic treatment and how this formed the basis of his clinical modus operandi.
Conclusion
Although no robust conclusions should be drawn from this small scale field study it does show that the clinical chiropractic practice as carried out by this UK trained British chiropractor contains a number of elements described in earlier qualitative studies in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-25
PMCID: PMC3750721  PMID: 23927011
18.  What to Disclose? Revisiting Informed Consent 
Background
The requirement of obtaining informed consent before medical procedures is well established. With patients having greater access to information through information technology and owing to other factors, disclosure that goes beyond the traditional elements of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to an intervention is demanded from physicians.
Questions/purposes
We asked if modern informed consent doctrine encompasses such physician-specific variables like professional experience, health, disability, training, qualifications, disciplinary history, FDA-regulatory status pertaining to a medical device, physician research and financial interests, and statistics related to medical outcomes.
Methods
We searched two major legal databases and identified court opinions and legal reviews that have examined the scope of physician disclosure while obtaining informed consent. From this information, we summarized the prevailing state of informed consent law.
Results
Despite the expansion of information available to patients, courts have been hesitant to expand the informed consent doctrine to encompass physician-specific variables. Exceptions involve cases in which such variables directly impacted medical care and the patient could demonstrate their relevance in the informed consent process.
Conclusions
Judicial decisions have subtly expanded the doctrine of informed consent beyond its traditional limits, at least in some cases. As informed consent law continues to develop, physicians should ask if information would be material to a reasonable patient while making medical decisions; if so, such information should be disclosed.
doi:10.1007/s11999-011-2232-0
PMCID: PMC3314757  PMID: 22215479
Medicine & Public Health; Conservative Orthopedics; Orthopedics; Sports Medicine; Surgery; Surgical Orthopedics; Medicine/Public Health, general
19.  Do informed consent documents for chiropractic clinical research studies meet readability level recommendations and contain required elements: a descriptive study 
Background
Informed consent documents (ICD) in research are designed to educate research participants about the nature of the research project in which he or she may participate. United States (US) law requires the documents to contain specific elements present and be written in a way that is understandable to research participants. The purpose of this research is to determine if ICDs from randomized controlled trials conducted at chiropractic colleges meet recommended readability standards and contain the 13 content items required by US law.
Methods
This study was approved by Palmer College of Chiropractic’s IRB #2012-12-3-T and was conducted between December 3, 2012 and February 14, 2013. We contacted the research directors of five chiropractic colleges that have received federal funding supporting their clinical research. A total of 13 informed consent documents from four chiropractic colleges were analyzed using the Flesch-Kincaid measurement. We assigned a grade-level readability score to the document based on the average of three separate grade level scores conducted on the three largest uninterrupted blocks of text. Content of the 13 ICDs was assessed using a 13-element checklist. A point was given for every element present in the document, giving a score range of “0, no elements are present”, to “13, all elements are present.”
Results
The mean Flesch-Kincaid grade level readability was 10.8 (range 7.2 -14.0). Our sample had a mean readability score 2.8 grade levels above the generally-accepted US average reading level. Content varied among the 13 informed consent forms, ranging from only nine elements present in one document to all 13 required in five documents. Additionally, we collated the risks presented in each document.
Conclusion
These results strongly suggest that chiropractic clinical researchers are not developing ICDs at a readability level congruent with the national average acceptable level. The low number of elements in some of the informed consent documents raises concern that not all research participants were fully informed when given the informed consent, and it may suggest that some documents may not be in compliance with federal requirements. Risk varies among institutions and even within institutions for the same intervention.
doi:10.1186/s12998-014-0040-9
PMCID: PMC4261587  PMID: 25505516
Bioethics; Chiropractic; Informed consent; Clinical trials; Manual therapies; Ethical review
20.  CHIROPRACTIC AND OSTEOPATHIC EDUCATION AT ROYAL MELBOURNE INSTITUTE TECHNOLOGY 
Objective: To assess the attitudes of undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic students at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1992 on the education they are receiving and on the effectiveness of chiropractic and osteopathic care.
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive survey.
Participants: Undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic students enrolled at RMIT School of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1992.
Results: This study surveyed 272 students, 196 who were chiropractic students and 76 who were osteopathic students from RMIT School of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in Melbourne, Australia. The students that responded represented 73.4% of chiropractic students and 85.4% of osteopathic students currently enrolled in their respective courses. Chiropractic and osteopathic students entered their respective courses from non-chiropractic/non-osteopathic families. More chiropractic students than osteopathic students (1.3:1.0) had their respective course as their first choice when applying for tertiary education. A majority (95.8 chiropractic students and 94.8% osteopathic students) of both groups surveyed were pleased with their choice of course. Students from both disciplines held considerable respect for each other in the care of certain conditions, but did not see the other profession’s care as effective as their own. A greater percentage of osteopathic students believed there was sufficient difference between chiropractic and osteopathy to justify two separate professions (57.6% compared to 97.2%).
Discussion: High quality education is a major aim in our schools and colleges. For this standard to be maintained it requires continual re-evaluation and assessment. Surveys such as this should be performed regularly as a method of evaluating student attitude and how these attitudes change during the course. This would also allow administrators to determine whether they are achieving their academic intentions. An immediate follow up survey asking the same questions is suggested to ascertain whether the same attitudes exist today.
PMCID: PMC2051086  PMID: 17987188
Chiropractic; osteopathic medicine; education; students; attitude
21.  Primary Reasons for Osteopathic Consultation: A Prospective Survey in Quebec 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106259.
Background
Osteopathy is an increasingly popular health care modality to address pain and function in the musculoskeletal system, organs and the head region, as well as functional somatic syndromes. Although osteopathy is recommended principally in guidelines for management of back pain, osteopaths' scope of practice is wide, albeit poorly defined. In order to understand better the practice of osteopathy, this study aimed to investigate the most common reasons for osteopathic consultations in clinical settings in Quebec.
Methods
A prospective survey of members of the Registre des ostéopathes du Québec was conducted to examine demographics in osteopathic practices, as well as patients' primary reasons for consultations over a two-week period. The questionnaire was devised following a literature review and refined and verified with two stages of expert input.
Results
277 osteopaths (60.1% response rate) responded to the survey notice. 14,002 patients' primary reasons for consultations were reported in completed questionnaires and returned by practicing osteopaths. Musculoskeletal pain located in the spine, thorax, pelvis and limbs was the most common reason for consultations (61.9%), with females consulting most commonly for cervical pain and males for lumbar pain. Perinatal and paediatric (11.8%), head (9.1%), visceral (5.0%) and general concerns (4.8%) were the other most common reasons for consultations. Preventive care represented the remaining 0.3%.
Interpretation
The nature of primary reasons for osteopathic consultations, coupled with documented satisfaction of patients with this approach, suggest a future for multidisciplinary collaborative health care including osteopathy. Results of this survey may contribute to informing physicians and others pending regulation of Quebec osteopaths, and also provide direction for future clinical research and guidelines development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106259
PMCID: PMC4153609  PMID: 25184204
22.  Tailoring Consent to Context: Designing an Appropriate Consent Process for a Biomedical Study in a Low Income Setting 
Background
Currently there is increasing recognition of the need for research in developing countries where disease burden is high. Understanding the role of local factors is important for undertaking ethical research in developing countries. We explored factors relating to information and communication during the process of informed consent, and the approach that should be followed for gaining consent. The study was conducted prior to a family-based genetic study among people with podoconiosis (non-filarial elephantiasis) in southern Ethiopia.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We adapted a method of rapid assessment validated in The Gambia. The methodology was entirely qualitative, involving focus-group discussions and in-depth interviews. Discussions were conducted with podoconiosis patients and non-patients in the community, fieldworkers, researchers, staff of the local non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on prevention and treatment of podoconiosis, and community leaders. We found that the extent of use of everyday language, the degree to which expectations of potential participants were addressed, and the techniques of presentation of information had considerable impact on comprehension of information provided about research. Approaching podoconiosis patients via locally trusted individuals and preceding individual consent with community sensitization were considered the optimal means of communication. Prevailing poverty among podoconiosis patients, the absence of alternative treatment facilities, and participants' trust in the local NGO were identified as potential barriers for obtaining genuine informed consent.
Conclusions
Researchers should evaluate the effectiveness of consent processes in providing appropriate information in a comprehensible manner and in supporting voluntary decision-making on a study-by-study basis.
Author Summary
Informed consent to biomedical research in developing countries is a highly topical issue. When consent forms and processes are simply borrowed from developed countries, obtaining genuine informed consent becomes extremely challenging. This paper examines how a quick and relatively simple intervention (Rapid Assessment) can influence the design and implementation of informed consent processes in the context of biomedical research involving poor, socially stigmatized and illiterate communities in a developing country. The paper goes on to discuss the effect of social, cultural, and economic factors identified by the intervention in a particular context and demonstrates how knowledge of these influences helped to develop a socially relevant and practical consent process prior to conducting a programme of community-based genetic research. The paper concludes that this intervention is an effective and economical means by which to ensure the efficacy and ethical integrity of consent processes when recruiting participants to new research sites, even within countries with which researchers are already acquainted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000482
PMCID: PMC2705797  PMID: 19621067
23.  Consent in Surgery 
A review of consent for surgery is timely. As the length of surgeons' training diminishes, despite the increasing interest in the content of the surgical curriculum, the law governing the process of gaining consent has been given scant attention. The advent of non-medically qualified surgical practitioners raises questions about the breadth of knowledge that is required to ensure that valid consent is obtained. Consent is as fundamental as any other basic principle on which surgical practice relies, and its use in patient care is a clinical skill.
The ‘traditional’ approach to consent contained some negative elements. A doctor who was incapable of performing the proposed operation often obtained consent. In a genuine attempt to protect patients from anxiety, the rare-but-grave potential complications were sometimes not discussed. There was uncertainty about what should properly be disclosed, compounded by conflicting messages from the courts. The consent was sometimes taken from people who were ineligible to provide it.
These could be viewed as aberrations, and some persist. Having clarified the necessity for consent, this review concludes that it should be obtained by the operating surgeon. The threshold for interventions that need formal consent is discussed, together with the legal tests for capacity. In considering the recent law, it becomes clear that any potential complication that the reasonable patient would need to take into consideration before deciding to give their consent is one that should be disclosed.
doi:10.1308/003588406X106315
PMCID: PMC1963696  PMID: 16719993
Consent; Disclosure; Capacity; Formalities
24.  Patients’ expectations of private osteopathic care in the UK: a national survey of patients 
Background
Patients’ expectations of osteopathic care have been little researched. The aim of this study was to quantify the most important expectations of patients in private UK osteopathic practices, and the extent to which those expectations were met or unmet.
Methods
The study involved development and application of a questionnaire about patients’ expectations of osteopathic care. The questionnaire drew on an extensive review of the literature and the findings of a prior qualitative study involving focus groups exploring the expectations of osteopathic patients. A questionnaire survey of osteopathic patients in the UK was then conducted. Patients were recruited from a random sample of 800 registered osteopaths in private practice across the UK. Patients were asked to complete the questionnaire which asked about 51 aspects of expectation, and post it to the researchers for analysis.
The main outcome measures were the patients-perceived level of expectation as assessed by the percentage of positive responses for each aspect of expectation, and unmet expectation as computed from the proportion responding that their expectation “did not happen”.
Results
1649 sets of patient data were included in the analysis. Thirty five (69%) of the 51 aspects of expectation were prevalent, with listening, respect and information-giving ranking highest. Only 11 expectations were unmet, the most often unmet were to be made aware that there was a complaints procedure, to find it difficult to pay for osteopathic treatment, and perceiving a lack of communication between the osteopath and their GP.
Conclusions
The findings reflected the complexity of providing osteopathic care and meeting patients’ expectations. The results provided a generally positive message about private osteopathic practice. The study identified certain gaps between expectations and delivery of care, which can be used to improve the quality of care. The questionnaire is a resource for future research.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-122
PMCID: PMC3679882  PMID: 23721054
Questionnaires; Survey; Expectations; Musculoskeletal manipulations; Osteopathic medicine
25.  Issues with Consent in Stroke Patients 
The West Indian Medical Journal  2015;63(5):510-513.
ABSTRACT
Background:
Consent in stroke management may be required for either treatment, intervention or for research reasons. Consent capacity is an integral element of informed consent to treatment which requires that a patient's consent be voluntary, informed and competent. Without proper informed consent, medical treatment provided to a patient is a legal and ethical minefield, even if the treatment is benign and intended to benefit the patient.
Results:
Recent advances have enabled dramatic recovery in some stroke victims, transforming the previously generally negative outcomes of stroke care, whereas others face varying levels of disability. Explaining and sharing such details with patients and their families is essential. If this is not possible then there are other options such as emergency consent which may be justified in specific scenarios. Stroke may affect various areas of the brain and this may also include the prefrontal cortex which is involved in decision-making. There have been observations that individuals with damage to the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex may be prone to impulsive decision-making in real life and these patients are impaired on laboratory decision-making tasks that require balancing rewards, punishments and risk. This may therefore have an impact on consent decisions made by the patient.
Conclusion:
Ethical clinical research requires balancing several ethical requirements, including the requirement for scientific validity and the requirement to respect individuals by treating them as autonomous agents through the process of informed consent. Opportunities to improve on public awareness about stroke are essential to change the perception of this potentially devastating disorder.
doi:10.7727/wimj.2013.134
PMCID: PMC4655695  PMID: 25781291
Clinical research; consent; ethics; stroke

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