Cover: Researching the Appropriateness of Care in the Complementary and Integrative Health Professions

Researching the Appropriateness of Care in the Complementary and Integrative Health Professions

Part I

Published in: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 41, Issue 9, pages 800–806 (November–December 2018). doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2018.11.002

Posted on Jun 10, 2019

by Ian D. Coulter, Patricia M. Herman, Gery W. Ryan, Ron D. Hays, Lara Hilton, Margaret D. Whitley


The purpose of this article is to report on the Center of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine at RAND Corporation. The overall project examined the appropriateness of chiropractic spinal manipulation and mobilization for chronic low back pain and chronic cervical pain using the RAND and University of California Los Angeles Appropriateness Method, including patient preferences and costs, to acknowledge the importance of patient-centered care in clinical decision-making.


This article is a narrative summary of the overall project and its inter-related components (ie, 4 Research Project Grants and 2 centers), including the Data Collection Core, whose activities and learning will be the subject of a following series of methods articles.


The project team faced many challenges in accomplishing data collection goals. The processes we developed to overcome barriers may be of use to other researchers and for practitioners who may want to participate in such studies in complementary and integrative health, which previously was known as complementary and alternative medicine.


For this large, complex, successful project, we gathered online survey data, collected charts, and abstracted chart data from thousands of chiropractic patients. The present article delineates the challenges and lessons that were learned during this project so that others may gain from the authors' experience. This information may be of use to future research that collects data from independent practitioners and their patients because it provides what is needed to be successful in such studies and may encourage participation.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.