JACKSONVILLE, FL - A study of 89,000 acupuncture patients treated in 2014 and 2015 within a managed care network of licensed acupuncturists found high rates of satisfaction, exceeding national benchmarks' averages. These results were recently released by American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH), a company that develops and maintains managed care plans for specialized care services such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, and physical therapy.
The study utilized the Clinician & Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS®) survey developed by the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The "CG-CAHPS" surveys were designed to provide a standardized tool to measure patients' experiences with healthcare providers, health plans and health systems. They are administered by independent, accredited contractors and the results are submitted into a national database and compiled to help establish national benchmarks of patient satisfaction.
"This survey is very illuminating," said Matthew Bauer, L.Ac., President of the non-profit Acupuncture Now Foundation. "Because unlike many controlled trials, this captures what happens to real people with real health problems when they are treated by licensed acupuncturists."
Most notably, according to Bauer, were the findings that between 85 and 93 percent of those surveyed said their acupuncturist was successful in addressing their primary health issue. "Many of these patients had stubborn, chronic pain conditions," said Bauer. "To see such high satisfaction rates in that demographic is really remarkable."
The CG-CAHPS survey asks patients to rate their satisfaction levels in such categories as communication with their provider as well as office staff, ability to schedule appointments in a timely manner and their overall rating of their provider. Between 80 to 87 percent of survey responders rated their acupuncturists at a nine or a 10 on a one to 10 point scale. The national CG-CAHPS averages for conventional care providers for those years were between 76 to 80 percent.
"While this landmark survey was conducted on patients seeing ASH Network acupuncturists, their 6,000 providers represent a large cross-section of all U.S. licensed acupuncturists," according to Dr. David, Miller, M.D., President of the American Society of Acupuncturists. "We believe these high satisfaction rates will be similar for all well-trained acupuncturists."
The majority of the patients in the survey were treated for musculoskeletal pain syndromes with low back and neck pain being the most common. Also included were patients with chronic pain who were referred for acupuncture by medical pain management specialists. The survey included tracking of adverse events and found only 13 non-serious events per 86,769 patients or 0.014 percent.
"We hope the results of this survey will help to educate consumers, healthcare providers and health policymakers about the role acupuncture and acupuncturists can play in reducing the need for higher risk and often less effective pain interventions," said Dr. Miller.
For more information on an array of conditions treated by acupuncture and how to find a nationally board certified acupuncturist, please visit the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®).
"Nationally Board-Certified acupuncturists can address pain management and many other common health concerns," said Kory Ward-Cook, Ph.D, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the NCCAOM. "Acupuncture services often include Chinese herbal remedies which may also help with digestive issues, allergies, skin problems and headaches, and more -- all of which have been shown to be brought on by a variety of stressors."
About AFN: The ANF was founded in 2014 by a diverse group of people from around the world who were concerned about common misunderstandings regarding acupuncture and wanted to help acupuncture reach its full potential. With a mission to elevate acupuncture's impact on easing suffering and enhancing health through accurate information about its best practices, the organization seeks recognition as a leader in the collection and dissemination of unbiased and authoritative information about the practice of acupuncture. For more information, visit https://acupuncturenowfoundation.org/about-us/.