Background: Acupuncture is a topic of scientific study worldwide. Published research informs the practice and science of acupuncture, but the impact of this research is limited by suboptimal dissemination and implementation of research findings. Given the substantial body of acupuncture research that has been accumulated, acupuncture has paradoxically remained relatively underutilized within the greater healthcare delivery system. This inconsistency is especially notable given the juxtaposition of the opioid crisis alongside the utility of acupuncture as an effective and safe nonpharmacological treatment for chronic pain and its psychosocial correlates.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: The Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) is planning a scientific conference entitled "SAR 2019: Acupuncture research, health care policy and community health: closing the loop.” SAR conferences have always been very successful at disseminating current research and strengthening acupuncture research methodology. However, with the support of this grant, the project team will be able to capitalize on the inclusion of a new group of stakeholders, namely insurance payers and healthcare policy makers, in the discussion. The team has never included these crucial stakeholders in its conference and expects it will help the team to understand the barriers to research dissemination and implementation more fully. The project team will use the preconference workshop and a postconference working session to collaborate on the drafting of a white paper that will propose strategies for increasing the uptake of findings that have important potential impact on clinical practice.
Objectives: The SAR 2019 conference will create a space to critically examine recent advances in acupuncture research with the goals of strengthening and disseminating the evidence base.
Activities: In addition to these planned conference activities, the project team plans to invite approximately 30 representatives of stakeholder groups to both a preconference workshop and a postconference working session to develop strategies for improving dissemination and implementation of research findings in the future. Conference organizers will coordinate the drafting of a white paper that reports on the strategies for improving dissemination and implementation of research findings that result from the pre- and postconference workshops.
Outcomes and Outputs: The main deliverable outcome of this proposed project will be a white paper that reports on the strategies for improving dissemination and implementation of research findings that result from the pre- and postconference workshops.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Stakeholders invited to the pre- and postconference workshops will include: patients, practicing acupuncturists, other healthcare providers, healthcare delivery administrators, researchers, lawmakers, policy makers, journal editors, and representatives from academia and the insurance industry, among others. Stakeholders will participate in the preconference workshop, the scheduled conference activities, and the postconference workshop, during which time outlines for strategies for improved dissemination will be drafted. Stakeholders will also participate in the drafting of the white paper.
Project Collaborators: The University of Vermont, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, among others.