In one of my other roles I run a Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance Program and have served as an expert witness defending chiropractors for 20 years in malpractice and regulatory board actions. You would not believe some of the cases on my desk right now and what chiropractors are being accused of in regards to children as high up as the Justice Department.
And in EVERY SINGLE CASE do you know what the number one question and the number one accusation is?
Where is your RESEARCH?
Not once in any government hearing, deposition, trial, insurance audit in my 20 years of working on this has any of the thousands of cliches, colloquillisms and platitudes that we tell oursleves as chiropractors at all of our love fests ever mattered.
What mattered was the EVIDENCE. The RESEARCH.
And despite all the teary eyed pronouncements from the chiropractic stages that chiropractic saves children from the devastating effects of vertebral subluxation - we have FAILED the children.
Because according to DATA (not somebody's opinion) the number of children under chiropractic care is extremely low. Of the few datasets we have to draw from, a 2012 article published in the Journal of Things Not Chiropractic estimates that a meager 5.2% of the U.S. adult population visit chiropractors. When considering that pediatric chiropractors are a specialty and even the most robust family-centered office has 40% - 50% of their patient base as children, one can only assume that much less than 5% of U.S. children are under care. On a global scale, therefore, the prevalence is much lower. According to the National Health Interview Survey 2.3% of U.S. children received either a chiropractic or osteopath manipulation.
So, we have a serious problem and if you care about the future of this profession then you need to do something. Here are a few things you can do:
You can do one or two or all three of these things - but do SOMETHING now, today to help advance the cause of subluxation centered chiropractic.
Think of all the children who are not getting care because we did not provide the evidence to gain the cultural authority needed to move the masses in our direction.
I realize that research alone will not change our cultural authority. A thoughtful marketing campaign designed by experts is also needed. But my role in this is research and I need your help.
As always I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.
Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
McCoy Press Journals