The osteopathic medical profession has lacked research instruments to measure and characterize the use of osteopathic physicians and to assess public awareness and perceptions of osteopathic medicine. In the 1990s, the Osteopathic Survey of Health Care in America (OSTEOSURV) was developed to fill this void. Data from OSTEOSURV-I and OSTEOSURV-II, random national telephone surveys administered during 1998 and 2000, respectively, were used to test the validity and reliability of OSTEOSURV as a longitudinal survey instrument for osteopathic medicine. A total of 12 survey items were found to contribute to the "Perceptions of osteopathic medicine" construct. Within this construct, an osteopathic medicine scale emerged that consists of three distinct dimensions termed conventional medicine, manual medicine, and somato/visceral medicine.