From the Director: Moving Forward

DO-Touch.NET will remember 2017 as a year of unprecedented productivity. Our second study, the “OMM Utilization Study,” continues to progress into unforged territory.

The database has been formally closed and locked.  The first round of analysis is complete and addressed the research question, “What are the incidence and types of adverse events that occur after different types of OMT?”  A manuscript reporting on the outcome of this analysis has been accepted for publication by the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and is currently in press.

Data collection has also been completed on the network’s third study, designed to specifically assess adverse events following OMT.  Network staff are beginning the data cleaning and analysis process.  In the US, over 900 unique patients from 69 clinicians participated in the study.  We are also pleased to announce that this study is the first DOTouch.NET project performed internationally with the satellite research center managed by the Verband der Osteopathen Deutschland e.V. (VOD, Wiesbaden Germany).  VOD personnel managed their portion of the study by assuring accurate translation of data collection forms, member recruitment, training, data collection, data entry and cleaning on 404 patients from 27 clinicians, all in 1 year.  We congratulate the VOD and their leadership for their success on this study.  

As our network grows, the process of performing research becomes more complicated.  Learning better ways to leverage technology and science is our challenge and our opportunity in 21st century osteopathy.  In 2017, we submitted the network’s first NIH grant specifically to develop technology for data collection from both patients and clinicians.  This grant would provide support for advancing our data collection capabilities from electronic medical records and hand held devices, improving data quality and efficiency. 

As 2017 concludes, we finish the year strong.  Membership has increased in 2017 from 289 to 387: 261 members from 35 states in the USA, 91 members in Germany, and an additional 35 members from 9 countries on 6 continents.  To date, 88 members have contributed data to the studies performed within DO-Touch.NET.  Anchored by the stable infrastructure of the A.T. Still Research Institute, the members and staff of DO-Touch.NET have gained experience, expertise, and recognition.  These coordinated efforts will continue to enhance the network’s research efforts.

So how do we sustain the momentum of 2017 and further realize the mission of the network, to evaluate and advance the practice of osteopathic manipulative medicine?  Attend the 2018 DO-Touch.NET Annual Meeting in March!  We will be presenting the latest outcomes from our research, and will reveal opportunities for you to participate in advancing the science of osteopathic medicine.  I look forward to seeing you there.