Author: Eva Hammer, Helmut Moschik
Supervisor: Sandra Korber
Background: The reason for this study is the fact that in Austria, osteopathy is not acknowledged as a medical profession per se. Therefore, the OEGO (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Osteopathie – Austrian Society for Osteopathy) aims to establish an accredited and registered occupational profile. For that, a good cooperation with the medical fraternity is essential since they form the highest authority of the medical profession.
Aim: A survey about the knowledge of the medical fraternity about osteopathy that fulfils the test criteria does not exist. One aim of this research is to develop a new questionnaire that fulfils the criteria in order to be used for an inquiry based on the questionnaire of Krug (2004). Another purpose is to evaluate and interpret the collected data in respect of the 1-5 scale. According to the literature available, it is assumed that the knowledge of the medical fraternity about osteopathy is low. This context leads to the main research questions:
“Does the new questionnaire meet the criteria for test quality?”
“How is the knowledge of the medical fraternity about osteopathy?”
That implies the following hypothesis:
“The revised questionnaire fulfils the test criteria.”
“The knowledge of the medical fraternity about osteopathy is low.”
Method: To answer this research question, we carried out a quantitative and qualitative data collection using an online questionnaire with a sample (n = 116) of Styrian doctors. The questionnaire was put online after accurate revision with the assistance of the programme Limesurvey. The quantitative part consists of 16 questions. The questionnaire includes a self-assessment of the doctors of their own knowledge about osteopathy in order to draw a correlation between objective knowledge and the self-assessment. In addition, we collected information about the experience with osteopathy and the frequency of referrals from doctors to osteopaths. The questioning took place from January to March 2014. To fulfil data protection rules the data was electronically stored on the servers of TILAK (Tiroler Landeskrankenanstalten GmbH). To ensure objectivity, we produced an evaluation chart. The programme SPSS 13 was used for data analysis. The questionnaire was evaluated regarding item difficulty, statistical accuracy and Cronbach Alpha.
Result: The analysis shows that only 54% of the items have an average difficulty. 46% of the items reach average to good accuracy. Only 3 out of 16 question reached Cronbach Alpha results of α>0,8. The evaluation in respect of the 1-5 scale showed that 72% of the sample were assessed as “negative”. 17% reached “sufficient”, 9% “satisfactory” and 2% were assessed as “good”. None of the study participants was evaluated as “very good”. These results show that the revised questionnaire only fulfils the main criteria “objectivity” but does not reach the criteria of “reliability” or “validity”. Due to the results it is assumed that the knowledge of the medical fraternity in Styria about osteopathy is low. This data collection shows that the revised questionnaire is no appropriate instrument to research the knowledge of doctors about osteopathy. Nevertheless, with respect to the 1 – 5 scale we could identify important findings about the knowledge of doctors about osteopathy. These findings form a good basis in order to raise an awareness and information campaign among the medical fraternity before the questionnaire is again revised and tested for scientific criteria.