This international study is being led by Dr Oliver Thomson, Associate Professor, and member of the UCO research department. He is collaborating with researchers from the UK (Dr Jerry Draper-Rodi, UCO), Australia (Dr Brett Vaughan, University of Melbourne, Dr Gopi McLeod Southern Cross University and Michael Fleischmann, Torrens University) and Italy (Dr Francesco Cerritelli, COME Collaboration), and New Zealand (Dr Kesava Sampath, Wintec). The Osteo-TAQ program of research is an international collaboration through the University of Technology Sydney Osteopathic Leadership Group.
Osteopathy has been viewed as a person-centred biopsychosocially-orientated primary healthcare profession. Initially considered to be based on traditional principles of anatomy and physiology, contemporary research from osteopathy and other healthcare disciplines confirms that the nature of clinical practice is complex with a range of different knowledge forms and contextual factors interacting in the context of an individual therapeutic relationship with the patient. Research shows that osteopaths display different approaches to clinical decision-making and qualitative research indicates that practitioners hold different professional views and identities in relation to clinical work, use of evidence-based practice and their osteopathic care of patients.
Research confirms that clinical outcomes in patients experiencing common musculoskeletal problems, such as low back pain, are influenced by a range of different aspects such as; the therapeutic relationship with their practitioner, the presence and impact of psychosocial factors and the biopsychosocial orientation of the practitioner.
As part of its professional maturation, osteopathy should continue to critically reflect on it’s traditional assumptions of practice and seek to generate evidence to understand the complex nature of osteopathic practice. To date, there has been very little research conducted into the nature of osteopaths’ clinical practice, nor how the different approaches that osteopaths take to their clinical practice relates to patient outcomes.
The Osteopaths’ Therapeutic Approach Questionnaire (Osteo-TAQ) is based on empirical qualitative research from osteopathy and theory from healthcare sociology and psychology. The questionnaire is designed to provide knowledge of the different aspects that make up the clinical approaches osteopaths take with their patients, how these relate to clinical outcomes and to offer directions to the role that osteopaths may play in the wider healthcare landscape, and identify areas to develop and support clinicians practice.
This study forms part of a broader international Osteo-TAQ project with studies planned in several countries including New Zealand, UK, Italy, France and Canada. The first stage will conclude commence in 2021, after which time the results will be published.