Medical EducationOriginal Article

Variations in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Somatic Dysfunction Between 4 Osteopathic Residency Programs

Gregory A. Hon, DO; Karen T. Snider, DO; and Jane C. Johnson, MA
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: November 3, 2014

Accepted: December 17, 2014

Published: May 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(5): 294-303

Context: The American Osteopathic Association requires the integration of osteo-pathic principles and practice in all specialty residency training programs that it accredits, but the 4 residencies with the most integration of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) have differences in training and emphasis on OMM as a primary treatment modality.

Objectives: To study differences in OMM use for spinal pain between the neuro-musculoskeletal medicine/OMM (NMM/OMM), the family practice/osteopath-ic manipulative treatment (FP/OMT), the integrated FP/OMT and NMM/OMM (FP/NMM), and the internal medicine and NMM/OMM (IM/NMM) specialty residency training programs.

Methods: Medical records were reviewed for patient encounters from September 2011 through October 2013 at NMM/OMM, FP/OMT, FP/NMM, and IM/NMM residencies in a family medicine and OMM specialty clinic. Records were screened for a diagnosis of cervicalgia, thoracalgia, lumbago, or backache. The identifed encounters were compared to determine between-specialty differences in the number of chief complaints, non–somatic dysfunction assessments, body regions with diagnosed somatic dysfunction, body regions managed with OMT, and number and type of OMT techniques used.

Results: Eighteen residents had 2925 patient encounters that included 1 or more spinal pain diagnoses. Overall, 2767 patients (95%) received OMT. The probability (95% CI) of residents using OMT was 0.99 (0.98-0.99) for the NMM/OMM residents, 0.66 (0.55-0.77) for the FP/OMT residents, 0.94 (0.88-0.97) for the FP/NMM residents, and 0.997 (0.98-1.0) for the IM/NMM residents. The FP/OMT residents were less likely to manage spinal pain using OMT (P<.001) and documented fewer somatic dysfunction assessments and fewer musculoskeletal assessments (P<.001), but they documented significantly more non–somatic dysfunction assessments (P<.001). When using OMT, the FP/OMT residents diagnosed somatic dysfunction in fewer mean (95% CI) body regions (2.9 [2.4-3.5]) than the NMM/OMM (5.5 [4.9-6.2]), the FP/NMM (5.5 [4.8-6.3]), or the IM/NMM (4.6 [3.4-6.0]) residents (P<.001). The FP/OMT residents also managed fewer mean (95% CI) body regions with OMT (3.5 [3.0-4.1]) than the NMM/OMM (5.7 [5.2-6.3]), the FP/NMM (5.6 [5.0-6.3]), or the IM/NMM (4.7 [3.7-6.0]) residents (P<.001).

Conclusions: Although the FP/OMT residents used OMT less frequently than the other residents during spinal pain encounters, they provided care for a larger number and a wider variety of non–somatic dysfunction assessments.

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