J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter; 1(4): 371-86.
A patient-centered paradigm: a model for chiropractic education and research.
Research Department, New York Chiropractic College, Seneca Falls 13148-0800, USA.
Within the chiropractic profession there is concern over both the appropriate paradigm for educating the student and the appropriate research model for investigating health care and promotion. The purpose of this study was to identify, interpret, and describe a paradigm for chiropractic education and research. Chiropractic first principles and existing health care paradigms were identified and integrated with the characteristics of chiropractic practice described in sociological studies of the chiropractic profession. A patient-centered paradigm emerged, incorporating the principles of vitalism, holism, humanism, conservatism, naturalism, and rationalism. Characteristics of a patient-centered paradigm that were identified were then subjected to an eight-member consensus panel with representatives drawn from chiropractic education, research, and sociology. The characteristics of a patient-centered paradigm agreed upon include self-healing, recognition of the patient as a unified whole, respect for the patient's values, beliefs, and dignity, involvement of the patient as a partner in health promotion, and a natural and conservative approach to evidence based care. Patient-centered research must reach beyond the randomized controlled trial, involving designs where clinicians apply their own patient-centered therapy in a "real world" assessment. A pluralism of methods, including both qualitative and quantitative studies, needs to be designed and implemented. Patient-centered research is a process that is pragmatic, realistic, and grounded in the day-to-day experiences of both patients and chiropractors. A patient-centered paradigm offers a useful model to critically study what benefits patients and to prepare chiropractic students to practice in the patient's interest.