The ACC/RAC meeting this past weekend (March 15th & 16th) featured a keynote speaker, Clem Bezold, PhD, Chairman and Senior Futurist, at the Institute for Alternative Futures. Dr. Bezold and his organization make educated predictions and alternative futures for professions and organizations. Dr. Bezold is no stranger to chiropractic. He previously published the analysis of possibilities for chiropractic in July 1998 with “The Future of Chiropractic: Optimizing Health Gains” followed by “The Future of Chiropractic Revisited: 2005-20015” and this year “Chiropractic 2025: Divergent Futures”. The predictions and alternative paths for the profession are based upon healthcare reform, patient demand, willingness and ability to integrate, competition, research, reimbursement, the ability of the profession to unify and many other factors.
The new alternative futures publication, sponsored by NCMIC, suggests four likely possibilities for Chiropractic: 1) Marginal Gains, Marginalized Field, 2) Hard Times & Civil War, 3) Integration and Spine Health Leadership and 4) Vitalism & Value. All chiropractors, faculty, students and prospective students should review this document. Free assess can be found here: http://www.altfutures.org/pubs/chiropracticfutures/IAF-Chiropractic2025.pdf.
Another paper published last year provided a somewhat different perspective of chiropractic’s future. That work concluded “…Sadly, to the detriment of the profession as a whole, some parts of the chiropractic profession remain mired in a nineteenth century mind-set. This is particularly perplexing considering the progress that the profession has made and the opportunities it now has.” Free access to that work is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299614/
The common theme is that despite challenges, the future of the profession is largely in the hands of the profession. When Dr. Bezold was asked at the ACC/RAC meeting how chiropractic faired and responded over the past decades to the previous analysis of the futures, he smiled and responded “not so well”.