Exploring outcomes associated with acupuncture.
OBJECTIVE: The objective was to explore various methods of assessing clinically meaningful change associated with a course of acupuncture treatments. DESIGN: The design was a prospective cohort study. SETTING: The setting was an acupuncture clinic staffed by two physician acupuncturists in a university-affiliated family practice center. SUBJECTS: Subjects consisted of consecutive new patients to an acupuncture clinic. OUTCOME MEASURES: Outcomes were measured using the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 (SF-36) and Measure Your Own Medical Outcomes Profile (MYMOP). Outcomes measured were global clinical change and patient satisfaction. RESULTS: Out of 112 eligible patients, 110 consented to the study and contributed baseline data. Of these, 80 (71%) completed the 2-month follow-up questionnaire. Mean age of study subjects was 54.5 (standard deviation, SD 17.6) years; 85 (77%) were female, and 75 (68%) were married. Mean number of acupuncture treatments during the 2-month follow-up period was 5.8 (SD, 3.5, range, 1 to 16). Statistically significant improvement from baseline to follow-up was observed with the bodily pain subscale of the SF-36 and with the MYMOP. Among those who completed the study, 52 (67%) felt that the main symptom for which they sought acupuncture had improved over the course of the study and 72 (90%) were satisfied with their treatment in the acupuncture clinic. CONCLUSIONS: The MYMOP instrument appears to be the most useful of the four measures used to evaluate clinical outcomes associated with a course of acupuncture treatments (SF-36, MYMOP, global clinical change, and patient satisfaction). This easy-to-administer instrument appears to be sensitive to clinical change over a 2-month period among patients who sought acupuncture for a wide variety of clinical conditions.
Hull, SK; Page, CP; Skinner, BD; Linville, JC; Coeytaux, RR
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