Objective: There is a growing need for students and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine to gain experience with standardized data collection, patient outcomes measurement, and practice-based research. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a process for standardized data collection that could eventually be adopted for clinical, research, and quality assurance purposes. Settings/location: The setting for this study was an acupuncture and Oriental medicine teaching clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota. Methods: Four (4) aspects of data collection were assessed and improved, including intake and post-treatment questionnaires, follow-up with patients, integration of data collection into clinic flow, and commitment of resources to the project. Outcome measures: The outcomes measures were data collection and missing data rates, burden on patients and clinic staff, and efficiency of data entry. Results: Revision to the data collection process resulted in decreased burden to patients and staff, more detailed and aggressive follow-up protocols, enhanced training for clinic staff, and increased personnel and data-related resources. Conclusions: The systematic collection of descriptive and clinical characteristics can be accomplished in a teaching clinic with thoughtful attention paid to data collection protocols, dedicated resources, and the involvement of all relevant personnel.
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