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Clinical Risk Osteopathy and Management (CROaM) project

The Clinical Risk Osteopathy and Management (CROaM) study is one of four pieces of research commissioned by the General Osteopathic Council exploring adverse events, treatment reactions and related topics. The overall purpose of the study was to document reported treatment reactions and adverse events; to provide a description of UK osteopaths' risk assessment and risk management; to describe and model osteopaths' and patients' perceptions and beliefs about adverse events and treatment reactions. In addition, utilising short-term follow-up of patient outcomes, to provide a narrative evaluation of the comparative risks and benefits of osteopathic treatment.

The value and need for this information arose from recent debate in the medical, scientific, lay and osteopathic press, specifically concerning the cost benefit and risk profile within osteopathy.

More importantly, there was little existing information about adverse events associated with osteopathic treatment. Osteopaths also expressed concerns about adherence to elements of their Code of Practice in this area; these largely related to their ability to manage risk and give patients accurate and relevant information for the purposes of receiving consent from patients.

The aims of the research were to:

  • Determine the frequency and impact of treatment reactions and adverse events;
  • Provide information about risk management and assessment from patients' and osteopaths' perspectives;
  • Provide a framework to interpret adverse events from the perspective of patients and osteopaths;
  • Provide a baseline for guidance in this area, grounded in the available evidence, and provide a risk versus benefit context for osteopathic practice.

The research has now been completed, approved by GOsC and awaiting publication. A summary report of the CROaM Project can be downloaded here. Alternatively, we have reproduced summary information of the our methods and findings and the potential implications of the project:

CROaM Methods and Findings