Future of Chiropractic Forecast

The Institute for Alternative Futures forecast the future of chiropractic for the next 10 years in a January 31 report.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1998 the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) issued a major report on the future of chiropractic care in the US. IAF has revisited its research to develop its report: The Future of Chiropractic Revisited: 2005 to 2015.

Highlights of the report include:

Opportunities
* Inclusion of chiropractic in the Department of Defense and the
Department of Veterans Affairs.
* Research possibilities to reinforce the benefit of chiropractic care.
* Consumer directed healthcare.

Challenges
* The divisions within the profession over philosophy and scope.
* The rise of competition from other health care providers.
* The pressure managed care continues to place on reimbursement rates.

Scenarios for Chiropractic 2015
Given these challenges and opportunities, and related trends IAF developed four scenarios for chiropractic in 2015:
* The first scenario looks at the slow and steady growth of chiropractic in the care of back and neck pain.
* The second scenario shows a darker future where internal conflicts and outside pressure cause a downward spiral in chiropractic.
* In scenario three, chiropractors pursue evidence based practice and greater collaboration with other healthcare providers.
* In scenario 4, a vanguard of chiropractors combine evidence based practice and greater collaboration with a wellness approach to disease to become "healthy life doctors."

Highlights
* IAF's forecast of chiropractors. In our extrapolative scenario, scenario 1, IAF forecasts that the profession will grow from 74,000 chiropractors in 2005 to 87,000 chiropractors in 2015.
* For this report IAF did a small but novel survey of leaders at the chiropractic colleges, asking them to "locate" colleges on a scale defined by the differences among chiropractic professional associations.
* Comprehensive lists of drivers and forecasts for each of the four scenarios.

IAF's Insights
The IAF futurist team looking at the chiropractic field sees an enigma:
* Chiropractic is the largest and most well established complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States, but in practice many chiropractors are barely holistic or integrative.
* Chiropractic is still well positioned to take advantage of newfound interest in complementary and alternative care by providing more integrative care themselves. But since we made that recommendation in 1998 DCs have done relatively little to make this integration more real.

IAF's Recommendations
IAF makes a series of recommendations to the profession to help them achieve a more preferred future. Some key recommendations, among others are:
* Accelerate Research
* Continue to Strive for High Standards of Practice
* Develop greater integration with mainstream healthcare
* Anticipate and Engage Consumer Directed Care
* Create greater unity within the profession
* Enhance Individual DC's Contribution to Public Health
* Prepare for the Future of Prevention & Wellness
* Develop Geriatric Chiropractic

Would that the decision-makers in Florida State's new medical college had read the IAF report with any open mind, before attempting to repeat the dark history of medicine vs. chiropractic.