Comparing the old to the new: A comparison of similarities and differences of the accreditation standards of the chiropractic council on education-international from 2010 to 2016
Background Chiropractic programs are accredited and monitored by regional Councils on Chiropractic Education (CCE). The CCE-International has historically been a federation of regional CCEs charged with harmonising world standards to produce quality chiropractic educational programs. The standards for accreditation periodically undergo revision. We conducted a comparison of the CCE-International 2016 Accreditation Standards with the previous version, looking for similarities and differences, expecting to see some improvements. Method The CCE-International current (2016) and previous versions (2010) were located and downloaded. Word counts were conducted for words thought to reflect content and differences between standards. These were tabulated to identify similarities and differences. Interpretation was made independently followed by discussion between two researchers. Results The 2016 standards were nearly 3 times larger than the previous standards. The 2016 standards were created by mapping and selection of common themes from member CCEs’ accreditation standards and not through an evidence-based approach to the development and trialling of accreditation standards before implementation. In 2010 chiropractors were expected to provide attention to the relationship between the structural and neurological aspects of the body in health and disease. In 2016 they should manage mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Many similarities between the old and the new standards were found. Additions in 2016 included a hybrid model of accreditation founded on outcomes-based assessment of education and quality improvement. Both include comprehensive competencies for a broader role in public health. Omissions included minimal faculty qualifications and the requirement that students should be able to critically appraise scientific and clinical knowledge. Another omission was the requirement for chiropractic programs to be part of a not-for-profit educational entity. There was no mention of evidence-based practice in either standards but the word ‘evidence-informed’ appeared once in the 2016 standards. Conclusions Some positive changes have taken place, such as having bravely moved towards the musculoskeletal model, but on the negative side, the requirement to produce graduates skilled at dealing with scientific texts has been removed. A more robust development approach including better transparency is needed before implementation of CCE standards and evidence-based concepts should be integrated in the programs. The CCE-International should consider the creation of a recognition of excellence in educational programs and not merely propose minimal standards.