Over the past 20 years, various authors have addressed the question of the future of chiropractic. Most were positive about the future, with some advocating evidence-based practice and integration with mainstream healthcare, some advocating continued separation with an emphasis on subluxation-based care or the traditional/historical paradigm of chiropractic, and some calling for tolerance and unity. No papers were found specifically inquiring about the future of chiropractic radiology.
The study population consisted of all current members of the American Chiropractic College of Radiology (ACCR), estimated at 190 people, known as chiropractic radiologists or Diplomates of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBRs). An internet-based, anonymous survey using SurveyMonkey was implemented, supplemented by hard copies distributed at a conference. The main point of interest for this paper is the final item of the overall questionnaire. This item inquired about the future of chiropractic radiology. Thematic analysis was used on the responses, coded in both constructionist and inductive ways to extract both a general outlook and more specific themes. The inductive themes were also assigned secondarily to a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
The overall response rate to the survey was 38% (73/190); within the group of respondents, 71 of 73 (98%) answered the item that is the subject of this paper. Opinions on the outlook for chiropractic radiology in the future were more negative than positive, with 14 respondents giving a positive outlook, 26 negative, and 14 non-committal. 28 respondents advocated integration with the wider healthcare community, 11 recommended emphasising separateness or a focus on working within chiropractic, and 15 did not express an opinion on this issue. Ten strengths were noted, 11 weaknesses, 57 opportunities, and 30 threats.
The increasing necessity of demonstrating evidence for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in healthcare makes it likely that chiropractic radiologists and the wider chiropractic profession will need to take a more active position on evidence-based practice. Re-evaluation of guidelines and legislation as well as enforcement policies and practices will be necessary. The consequences of failing to do so may include increased marginalisation and reduced viability as a profession.