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J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Mar;15(3):305-20. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0224.

The development of a prospective data collection process in a traditional Chinese medicine teaching clinic.

Author information

  • 1Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies, Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, MN 55431, USA. mmaiers@nwhealth.edu



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.


The setting for this study was an acupuncture and Oriental medicine teaching clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota.


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.


The outcomes measures were data collection and missing data rates, burden on patients and clinic staff, and efficiency of data entry.


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.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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