Online Program

Evaluation of the efficacy of an acupuncture program at a community-based wellness center

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bhavini Patel, BSc, Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Kathleen Miller, RN, MA, PhD, Wellness Center, A Service of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Revere, MA
Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Introduction: According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, 2.13 million Americans reported recent use of acupuncture. NIH Consensus Development Conference in 1997 reported that there is sufficient data to support and consider the complementary use of acupuncture. The objective of the acupuncture program evaluation at MGH-BHI Wellness Center was to 1) conduct a process evaluation in order to help improve program delivery and 2) conduct an impact evaluation to determine how the program affects the patient's health outcomes.

Methods: This was a mixed methods study consisting of a focus group discussion and a questionnaire. Participants included patients currently enrolled at MGH-BHI Wellness Center who received acupuncture between August 2011 and January 2012.

Results: Of the 137 eligible patients, 72 returned the mail survey. The response rate was 52.6%. Most of the patients had received more than ten acupuncture sessions and felt much better after receiving acupuncture. There was a significant correlation between the number of acupuncture sessions and the change in the participants' health and wellbeing after the acupuncture treatment (p=0.003) and a resulting decrease in the intake of pain medications (p=0.039).

Discussion: It can be concluded that the services rendered at MGH-BHI has a beneficial impact on the population it serves, and patients consistently report high satisfaction. There is a significant relationship between the number of acupuncture sessions and the perceived change in health and wellbeing suggesting that patients are feeling better regardless of whether there is an actual effect or a placebo effect, or both.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the acupuncture program delivery and program model at the community-based MGH-Wellness Center and evaluate the impact of the program.

Keyword(s): Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am co-founder and director of the MGH-Wellness Center, which provides complementary therapies (including acupuncture), to patients served through the MGH community health centers. I am also a board-certified Advanced Holistic Nurse.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.