Less is more

   
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There is enough chatter these days for most people to recognize that healthcare delivery cannot continue to go unchecked in Canada. In July 2013, the Provincial and Territorial Premiers collectively agreed on one area to make significant improvements.  I know, right?  When do multiple areas of government all agree?  Here’s the good news. We agree too. 

The Premiers are busy developing guidelines to reduce unnecessary diagnostic imaging.That means MRI, CT scans and XRay for you. Spending on medical imaging in Canada has gone up quickly in recent years, and 10 to 20 per cent of these tests are believed to be unnecessary..

Recent studies have found lower back pain is at the top of the list for potential savings.  The best practice these days may include referring patients to a local spinal care pathway (a team of experts usually including chiropractors). Instead of costly imaging, these practitioners can provide assessment and clinical management.

90 per cent of patients who are referred to specialists are not candidates for surgery, and many patients wait months for their imaging or consultation, only to be sent back to their physician. These ‘spinal care pathways’ can provide a quicker physical assessment. Quicker assessment would allow patients to get the appropriate care sooner. 

Chiropractors are already playing a central role in care pathway teams across Canada. These teams are reducing diagnostic costs and unnecessary surgery. In Ontario, a recent pilot project evaluated the benefits of involving chiropractors in a primary care team. The chiropractors assessed patients with low back pain, and discussed treatment options with the patient’s family physician. Results from that project showed reductions in both MRIs and surgical referrals. 

Chiropractors welcome the opportunity to be part of providing Canadians suffering from back pain the right care, at the right time, by the right provider. These conditions are the largest burden of illness on the Canadian economy , and the second largest source of missed days of work in North America. Align yourself (pardon the pun) with best practices. Find out if chiropractic is right for you.

Joel Weisberg

Dr. Joel Weisberg is the Clinic Director and Principal Doctor at Downsview Chiropractic The difference it makes to a patient when they learn, receive appropriate care, and are empowered to self-manage, is often bigger than the relief they were seeking. Dr. Weisberg is driven to make that difference to people in their pursuit of a life lived well.