Frequently Asked Questions

What is PBR?

PBR stands for Practice-Based Research. It is a method of doing clinical research that collects data from practitioners in the field. While the research design is not controlled and can’t usually answer questions about the mechanisms of health care, it is about the best way of showing what happens in real world practices. The key is to collect data across a wide number of practice locations, looking at the practitioners’ methods and the changes in health of patients as they undertake a course of care.

What is PBRN?

A Practice-Based Research Network is the group of practitioners and their patients that are devoted to supplying information to a PBR study.

What is ResearchLink Practice Based Research Network (PBRN)?

ResearchLink PBRN is the PBRN being created by Life University’s Office of Sponsored Research and Scholarly Activity under the direction of Dr. Stephanie Sullivan. This PBRN is being developed to answer specific research questions relative to the care and benefits provided to chiropractic patients on a daily basis. Further, this research is being done from a contemporary vitalism perspective, which seeks to explore and understand the underlying elements being impacted in the individual patient.

What is Life’s perspective on Vitalism?

Life University’s educational and clinical philosophy is based on Vitalism. Vitalism is the understanding and principle that all living systems are self-organizing, self-developing, self-maintaining and self-healing. This means that the body is more than the sum of its parts; it is imbued with a specific intelligence that guides its development, interactions with its environment on all levels, and responses to challenges that environment creates or imposes. The concept of Vitalism is foundational to the entire concepts of health and wellness in humans. Our bodies work hard to express health, maintain health and recover from illnesses or other conditions that threaten our health.

This philosophy is not new and has been followed by generation upon generation in other areas of the world and throughout multiple cultures. Vitalism has a long history that was marginalized during the scientific revolution of the early twentieth century, but which has recently enjoyed a new degree of attention from academic, philosophic and clinical examiners based on the new perspective quantum mechanics has given us on issues of space, time and healing.

Vitalism is the guiding philosophy at Life University and is prevalent throughout all our degree programs – including business and computer information management. That’s not a stretch if you consider the fact that economies, cultures and even complex machinery are designed and maintained by humans with the goal of having them operate at optimum potential for the benefit of all.

What do we hope to learn from ResearchLink?

We hope to learn how a vitalistic world-view and approach to research will enhance the understanding and perspective of the benefits provided to patients through Chiropractic.

We will begin with surveys of practitioners’ attitudes and behaviors that look at their understanding of vitalism and how they practice. We will look at cross-sections of their patients initially from the doctors’ points of view as a way of measuring patient demographics and reasons for seeking care. We hope to contact individual patients directly to survey for their attitudes toward and expectations of their care. Then, we will use standard health surveys to look at patients’ health at the beginning of care and during a course of care.

From time-to-time we will check to see if there is a particular trend in care or type of cases that we want to focus on. For instance, one proposed research question is “How does chiropractic care influence childhood obesity?” If we can enroll a significant number of practitioners who see large numbers of children, we might ask them to track their patients’ weight, diet and activity levels with specific data forms.

Who is funding ResearchLink?

ResearchLink is an effort of Life University and is being funded with donations from our capital campaign and internal grants.

Who will have access to my data?

In this age of Electronic Health Records (HIPAA and NSA access to online data), we are acutely aware that people may not want to give up any information about themselves. We will take great pains, therefore, to insure that our data is stored on secure servers behind adequate firewalls. It will not be on cloud-based servers.

Further, we will not store any data that might identify ResearchLink participants. So, records will be ‘de-identified’ so that there will be no way to associate data with particular individuals. This is particularly challenging when we want to track data from patients over time. We will use encrypted ID numbers to identify all patient records.

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