Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If It Quacks Like a Duck . . .

Hypothetically speaking, suppose there were a treatment technique that had been around for several years. And this particular technique reportedly helped lots of patients. And the professional organization for the practitioners who could use the technique offered CEU's to take the class to become "certified" in the technique. And those who had taken the course said that the theory behind the technique "seemed sound." But. . .
  • There was no published efficacy data despite frequent hints at forthcoming research
  • There was no published summary of the technique and rationale for it
  • The only way to get comprehensive information about the technique was to take the (pricey) "certification" course
  • All the proceeds from that course went to one person/company (the originator of the technique)
  • What was known about the technique and its theory did not correspond with any known physiologic principles

Then what would you think? At what point do we as professionals discount a technique that apparently has promising anecdotal evidence but no true efficacy data (not to mention lack of sound theory) behind it?


Blogger Sarah said...

There are obviously several therapies that pop to mind with these questions. Coming from a research slant, I think it is as much a problem that researchers complain that certain therapies are not based on evidence while not attempting to disprove them.

That said, I think it is a problem for our profession that several of the big selling therapies fit your description. It's a problem that everybody knows about but it continues nonetheless. It discredits what we do.

Now, what I think is that efficacy data can be collected by any therapist using any therapy. A simple spreadsheet of data can be kept at any site-regardless of caseload. It can be built into the paperwork process. Over time, data could be analyzed (even sent to someone else to analyze) and made available to others. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon... it would be difficult to convince others of the need for implementation and maintenance.

I set one up at my first externship, but I doubt it's being used yet.

8:55 PM  

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