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European Standards in Osteopathic Training and Education


Author: Luc Peeters, BSc.(Hons.)Ost.Med. & Grégoire Lason, BSc.(Hons.)Ost.Med.
Supervisor: Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Karl Grün

Introduction: Osteopathy is not recognized as a medical discipline in the German speaking European countries and the osteopathic profession, as well as the osteopathic colleges, have different approaches towards competency profiles, teaching methods and diploma/degree qualifications. There is, however, an official European educational system. The future of osteopathy within the primary care system depends upon the implementation of the BAMA structure by the osteopathic colleges.

Theoretic background: The study objective is to formulate quality criteria for osteopathic colleges in Europe and to give a present status of The International Academy of Osteopathy and other osteopathic colleges in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and
Liechtenstein in relation to the Bologna Process. Standardization of osteopathic education and training and the implementation of the BAMA structure lead to academic and organizational quality assurance as well as to consistency of the course content and competency profile of the osteopath. This can only benefit the osteopathic colleges, the reputation of osteopathy and the safety and efficiency of osteopathic treatment for patients.

Method: After an inventory of osteopathic colleges and the creation of quality criteria for colleges derived from the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, the osteopathic colleges were evaluated. This evaluation of to which degree they meet the official criteria was done through thorough reading of their brochures and websites and by way of a written questionnaire.

Results: There is distrust amongst the colleges and the information obtained is ambiguous and incomplete. The International Academy of Osteopathy meets the quality criteria for 95.5%, 4 other colleges show a very positive evolution towards the quality criteria and 11 colleges show no sign of academic and quality assurance procedures.

Conclusion: The study provides a structured procedure to meet the quality criteria which can freely be used by osteopathic colleges to fulfil the European quality standards. The quality and quality assurance of the osteopathic colleges in German speaking Europe will benefit the reputation of osteopathy amongst other health-care workers, encourage research in the osteopathic field and provide safe and effective osteopathic treatment for patients.

Keywords: Bologna, Education, ISO, Osteopathy, Osteopathic education, Osteopathic colleges, Standard, Training criteria, WHO.