Abstract ID: 3462

Primary Topic: Whole systems and acupuncture (including TCM and Ayurveda)
Secondary Topic: Health Services Research/Cost Effectiveness

Treatment Plan as a Significant Predictor of Appointment Scheduling in Acupuncture Patients
Chun Nok Lam, MPH, , Los Angeles, CA, United States; Sang Hyun Lee, LAc, Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, Santa Monica, CA, United States; Chris Ruth, LAc, DAOM, Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, Santa Monica, CA, United States; David S Black, PhD, , Los Angeles, CA, United States

Late Breaker: No


Clinical factors that influence a patient’s decision to continue acupuncture treatment after initial consultation are not known. This study tests the effect of having a clinical treatment plan on patients to schedule a follow-up appointment after their initial consultation.

Methods/Session Format

We conducted a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data on individuals who visited an acupuncture teaching clinic from February to August 2017. We measured appointment scheduling by asking whether participants scheduled a follow-up appointment immediately after their consultation in the baseline survey. We used adjusted logistic regression to test whether receiving a clinical treatment plan from the acupuncturist would predict immediate appointment scheduling.


The study analysis included 120 participants (age: M=42.6±13.0 years, 27.5% male). About two-thirds (62.5%) received a treatment plan recommending follow-up visits, and 55.8% reported scheduling an appointment prior to leaving the clinic. Treatment plan and appointment scheduling were correlated (rho=0.32, p<0.001); 68.0% of participants with a treatment plan scheduled an appointment while only 35.6% without treatment plan scheduled (p<0.001). Adjusted regression analysis showed that having a treatment plan (OR=3.06, 95% CI: 1.26, 7.41, p=0.013) and intention to follow-up (OR=2.09, 95% CI: 1.15, 3.77, p=0.015) increased the likelihood of appointment scheduling. Other covariates including age, sex, illness perception, level of disability, chronic illness, immediate symptom improvement, attitude toward integrative therapies, acupuncture expectancy and patient-provider relationship did not predict appointment scheduling.


Appointment scheduling reflects a patient’s decision to continue care with acupuncture. Treatment plans serve a key role in offering patients guidance for future actions and can potentially lead to improved adherence to treatment recommendation. Acupuncturists can help patients benefit from on-going treatment by establishing a treatment plan as part of their routine clinical procedure.