Q&A with NCLC 2019 Presenters: Dr. John S. Stites

ACA’s annual meeting, the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference, brings you cutting-edge, evidence-based education sessions featuring some of the chiropractic profession’s most respected thought leaders and content experts. Many sessions also offer continuing education credits. Here we pose questions to one of the presenters: John S. Stites, DC, DACBR, DACO, professor and director of community clinics, Palmer College of Chiropractic.

His presentation is titled, “Rational Clinical Decisions: The Diagnostic Aspect of Evidence Based Clinical Practice.”

Q: How is the topic that you are presenting relevant to modern chiropractic practice? How will it help chiropractors be successful now, and into the future?

There has never been a time when there have been so many opportunities for chiropractors. With those opportunities comes societal expectations. One major expectation is that practitioners use an evidence-based approach to clinical care. Although most chiropractors I know do their best to stay current with the scientific literature, very few have had any training in critical appraisal and interpretation. ACA has been diligent about providing avenues for its members and the profession through the NCLC education programs and webinars. This is essential today since doctors are expected to have the ability to synthesize research evidence and rationally apply it in clinical practice.

 Q: Are there any new developments in your specialty/topic area that make your presentation at NCLC 2019 especially relevant or timely?

I am thrilled to be presenting this session collaboratively with Dr. Robert Vining. About five years ago, Dr. Vining, along with several colleagues, published an evidence-based classification system for low back pain. I love this paper because there is so much in this scholarly publication that is immediately applicable to clinical practice. Let me assure you that anyone who fears the session will be too focused on research will find that we will quickly move from the conceptual to the practical.

 Q: Who should attend your presentation and why?

For more than a decade, I have been involved in teaching not only chiropractors but also medical and non-medical healthcare providers of all disciplines how to incorporate evidence into clinical practice. Dr. Vining and I will present an engaging education program that is relevant to every chiropractic practice.

 Q: What practical knowledge or skills can attendees expect to take away from your presentation?

Participants in this program will better understanding the application of sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios in the diagnostic process. Participant will learn an evidence-based classification system with the associated clinical evaluation that will aid in management decisions and prognosis.

Q: What was the best career advice you ever received?

One thing that I’ve learned that has almost become a manta for me is, “Make the best decision you can, with the information you have and be happy with it.” This may sound simple but the application is often more involved. To make the best decision you can with a patient you must be fully present. You can’t be thinking about the last patient or the next, and you must understand the presenting situation. You must judge if you have adequate information or if you need to acquire additional information or evidence. Finally, there is always the chance that a better course could have been outlined for the patient or that something was missed, and the wrong diagnosis was made. If you have been conscientious about the decision process then you should be happy with it, even if it turned out wrong.

Dr. Stites’ presentation, “Rational Clinical Decisions: The Diagnostic Aspect of Evidence Based Clinical Practice,” takes place at NCLC on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at 2 p.m. ET. For complete conference information and schedules, click here.