The paper explores the patterns of coexistence of alternative/complementary health care (CAM) and conventional medicine in Israel in the cultural, political, and social contexts of the society. The data are drawn from over ten years of sociological research on CAM in Israel, which included observation, survey research, and over one hundred in-depth interviews with a variety of CAM practitioners - many with bio-medical credentials - and with policy makers in the major medical institutions. The analysis considers the reasons for CAM use, number of practitioners, the frequency of CAM use and some of its correlates, and how CAM is regulated. The structure of the relationship between the conventional health care system and CAM is discussed in the public sector, which provides two-thirds of CAM services, and in the private sector, which provides about one-third. The history of the development of these structures and some of the dilemmas of their operation are discussed. A number of policy issues are considered against this background: regulation and licensing, CAM in primary care, reimbursement for CAM treatment, and the inclusion of CAM in education and training for the health professions.
In spite of lacking evidence for effects on cancer progression itself, an increasing number of cancer patients use various types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There is disagreement between CAM practitioners, researchers and clinical oncologists, as to how evidence concerning effects of CAM can and should be produced, and how the existing evidence should be interpreted. This represents a considerable challenge for oncologists; both in terms of patient needs for an informed dialogue regarding CAM, and because some types of CAM may interact with standard treatments. There is a need for insight into which kinds of CAM may work, for whom they work, what the possible effects and side-effects are, and in what ways such effects may come about. The present article presents a framework for evaluating effects of CAM by suggesting a taxonomy of different levels of evidence related to different types of research questions and discussing the relevance of different research methodologies for different types of effects.
complementary and alternative medicine; evaluation; effects; research methodology
The primary purpose of this survey was to assess the interest and concerns of a group of cancer complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners regarding CAM research issues. These issues include the CAM modalities used most often by CAM practitioners in the treatment of cancer patients, cancer CAM practitioners’ perceptions of the most promising areas of cancer CAM research, the perceived obstacles to carrying out research objectives in the emerging field of cancer CAM research, the extent of awareness of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Best Case Series Program, and CAM practitioners’ level of interest in research collaboration with CAM researchers. A cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of cancer CAM practitioners was conducted. One hundred thirty-four respondents completed the survey. About 72% of the respondents were involved in the care of cancer patients, and these were considered the informative respondents. All results were from the informative respondent group. Respondent practitioners provided care using interventions from all seven of the predefined CAM categories. This care was provided to improve both quality of life and survival. Over two-thirds of the respondents rated research in pharmacologic and biologic treatments, alternative medical systems and nutritional therapeutics for cancer treatment, and symptom/side-effect management as high-priority areas. Although no single obstacle to research predominated as the most significant, the most frequently encountered obstacle was lack of awareness of appropriate funding sources (75.4%). More than 83% of respondents expressed some interest in or willingness to establish research collaboration with a cancer researcher. The results from this survey indicate that many cancer CAM practitioners have shared interests, perceived obstacles, and desired research opportunities. Despite a small sample size and lack of a feasible process for random sampling, this survey highlights avenues to promote and support collaborative research. The NCI/Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine will continue to respond to the concerns elucidated by the survey by developing strategies for future program opportunities within the NCI.
cancer complementary and alternative medicine practitioners; complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); practitioner survey
Central to the development of a sound evidence base for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) interventions is the need for valid, reliable and relevant outcome measures to assess whether the interventions work. We assessed the specific needs for a database that would cover a wide range of outcomes measures for CAM research and considered a framework for such a database.
The study was a survey of CAM researchers, practitioners and students. An online questionnaire was emailed to the members of the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for CAM Research (IN-CAM) and the CAM Education and Research Network of Alberta (CAMera). The majority of survey questions were open-ended and asked about outcome measures currently used, outcome measures' assessment criteria, sources of information, perceived barriers to finding outcome measures and outcome domains of importance. Descriptive quantitative analysis and qualitative content analysis were used.
One hundred and sixty-four completed surveys were received. Of these, 62 respondents reported using outcome measures in their CAM research and identified 92 different specific outcomes. The most important barriers were the fact that, for many health concepts, outcome measures do not yet exist, as well as issues related to accessibility of instruments. Important outcome domains identified included physical, psychological, social, spiritual, quality of life and holistic measures. Participants also mentioned the importance of individualized measures that assess unique patient-centered outcomes for each research participant, and measures to assess the context of healing and the process of healing.
We have developed a preliminary framework that includes all components of health-related outcomes. The framework provides a foundation for a larger, comprehensive collection of CAM outcomes. It fits very well in a whole systems perspective, which requires an expanded set of outcome measures, such as individualized and holistic measures, with attention to issues of process and context.
The aim of this study was to explore how attitudes towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and conventional medicine influence CAM use in a healthy population, and how health locus of control and exercise further affect CAM use.
A cross-sectional survey design was used.
The sample consisted of 65 healthy graduate students.
Main Outcome Measures
Since previous studies have focused on the attitudes of medical providers towards CAM, there are currently no standard, widely used measures of attitudes towards CAM from the perspective of the healthcare recipient. Thus, a new measure, the Complementary, Alternative, and Conventional Medicine Attitudes Scale (CACMAS) was created to address how attitudes of healthcare recipients affect CAM use. The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLC) was used to investigate effects of health locus of control on CAM use, and participants reported which of 17 listed CAM treatments they had used in the past, were currently using, or would likely use in the future. Participants also reported days of exercise in the past month to explore if those engaging in healthy behaviors might report more CAM use.
Having a philosophical congruence with CAM and agreement with holistic balance was associated with increased CAM use. Dissatisfaction with conventional medicine was also related to increased CAM use, but to a lesser extent. Those attributing health to personal behaviors (an internal health locus of control) reported more CAM use, as did those engaging in more resistance training in the previous month.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, including paediatric use, is common. The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation organized a priority-setting forum regarding paediatrics and the use of CAM/natural health products in November 2001. Four priority areas were identified: the creation of a national paediatric research network and/or centre of excellence in CAM; support for experiential learning, education, and training; completion of a needs/use assessment; and facilitation of knowledge transfer. These priority areas are discussed in the context of research, education, knowledge transfer and health systems. The present article represents a call for action for Canadian funding agencies to support the development of an evidence base in paediatric CAM.
CAM; Children; Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Paediatric
The growing interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and the increasing incorporation of its modalities in the United States' healthcare system have exposed a number of problems in the field. These include a shortage of qualified CAM providers, scarcity of evidence-based research, lack of trained scientists in the field, and the ubiquitous marketing of frequently uncontrolled CAM products. Thus, the development of a comprehensive and scientifically sound educational infrastructure has become a crucial initial step in redirecting these adverse trends.
With support from the NIH-sponsored curricular CAM initiative, faculty from the department of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University developed a M.S. program in CAM in 2003. This unique, first of its kind, science-based graduate program offers a master's degree (MS) in physiology with an emphasis on CAM. The CAM-MS degree in physiology is designed to enable students to critically assess various CAM modalities, apply scientific rigor, and carry out evidence-based CAM research. The curriculum includes core science courses and CAM-related classes. Additionally, in order to emphasize the application of academic knowledge and further strengthen problem-solving skills, the students complete an eight-week summer practicum in a professional CAM-related environment.
Here, we report on our innovative and interdisciplinary CAM graduate program where creative teaching is implemented by basic scientists and enhanced by the application of their disciplines in tandem with the clinical expertise of CAM practitioners in the community. Thus, the faculty in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics is developing emerging cross disciplinary areas of study and interest in order to prepare new generations of future physicians, health professionals, educators, and researchers capable of objectively assessing the safety and efficacy of various CAM modalities, and introducing scientific rigor to much needed research into the various aspects of CAM therapies.
Graduate education; Basic science; Complementary and Alternative Medicine
This study explored consumer perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and relationships with CAM and conventional medicine practitioners.
A problem detection study (PDS) was used. The qualitative component to develop the questionnaire used a CAM consumer focus group to explore conventional and CAM paradigms in healthcare. 32 key issues, seven main themes, informed the questionnaire (the quantitative PDS component - 36 statements explored using five-point Likert scales.)
Of 300 questionnaires distributed (Brisbane, Australia), 83 consumers responded. Results indicated that consumers felt empowered by using CAM and they reported positive relationships with CAM practitioners. The perception was that CAM were used most effectively as long-term therapy (63% agreement), but that conventional medicines would be the best choice for emergency treatment (81% agreement). A majority (65%) reported that doctors appeared uncomfortable about consumers' visits to CAM practitioners. Most consumers (72%) believed that relationships with and between health practitioners could be enhanced by improved communication. It was agreed that information sharing between consumers and healthcare practitioners is important, and reported that "enough" information is shared between CAM practitioners and consumers. Consumers felt comfortable discussing their medicines with pharmacists, general practitioners and CAM practitioners, but felt most comfortable with their CAM practitioners.
This PDS has emphasized the perceived importance of open communication between consumers, CAM and conventional providers, and has exposed areas where CAM consumers perceive that issues exist across the CAM and conventional medicine paradigms. There is a lot of information which is perceived as not being shared at present and there are issues of discomfort and distrust which require resolution to develop concordant relationships in healthcare. Further research should be based on optimisation of information sharing, spanning both conventional and CAM fields of healthcare, due to both the relevance of concordance principles within CAM modalities and the widespread use of CAM by consumers.
There has been a marked increase in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in recent years worldwide. In Germany, apart from 'Heilpraktiker' (= state-licensed, non-medical CAM practitioners), some general practitioners (GPs) provide CAM in their practices. This paper aims to explore the attitudes of GPs about the role of CAM in Germany, in relation to the healthcare system, quality of care, medical education and research. Furthermore, experiences of GPs integrating CAM in their daily practice were explored.
Using a qualitative methodological approach 3 focus groups with a convenience sample of 17 GPs were conducted. The discussions were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The majority of the participating GPs had integrated one or more CAM therapies into their every-day practice. Four key themes were identified based on the topics covered in the focus groups: the role of CAM within the German healthcare system, quality of care, education and research. Within the theme 'role of CAM within the healthcare system' there were five categories: integration of CAM, CAM in the Statutory Health Insurance, modernisation of the Statutory Health Insurance Act, individual healthcare services and 'Heilpraktiker'. Regarding quality of care there were two broad groups of GPs: those who thought patients would benefit from standardizing CAM and those who feared that quality control would interfere with the individual approach of CAM. The main issues identified relating to research and education were the need for the development of alternative research strategies and the low quality of existing CAM education respectively.
The majority of the participating GPs considered CAM as a reasonable complementary approach within primary care. The study increased our understanding of GPs attitudes about the role of CAM within the German healthcare system and the use of 'Heilpraktiker' as a competing CAM-provider. It seems to be a need for increased funding for research, better education and remuneration by the Statutory Health Insurance in order to improve access to 'Integrative medicine' in Germany.
Clinical trial evidence in controversial areas such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) must be approached with an open mind.
To determine what factors may influence practitioners’ interpretation of evidence from CAM trials.
In a mailed survey of 2400 U.S. CAM and conventional medicine practitioners we included two hypothetical factorial vignettes of positive and negative research results for CAM clinical trials. Vignettes contained randomly varied journal (Annals of Internal Medicine vs. Journal of CAM) and CAM treatment type (acupuncture, massage, glucosamine, meditation, and reiki). Response items also included randomly varied patient circumstances -- chronic refractory symptoms and the patient requesting CAM.
All practitioners rated the effectiveness and their willingness to recommend the therapy for a described patient. We used logistic regression to determine the independent influence of the four factors on respondents’ effectiveness and legitimacy judgments.
1561 practitioners responded (65%). Relative to Reiki, conventional medicine practitioners were most willing to recommend glucosamine (OR=3.0; 95% CI [1.6–5.4]), than massage (1.9 [1.1–3.3]), acupuncture (1.3 [0.8–2.2]), and meditation (1.2 [0.7–2.0]). CAM practitioners rated acupuncture as effective more than other CAM therapies (OR=5.8 [2.6–12.8]) compared to Reiki), and were more willing to recommend acupuncture (OR=12.3 [4.8–31.8]). When presented evidence of inefficacy, CAM practitioners were most willing to recommend acupuncture relative to other CAM therapies (OR=15.5 [9.0–26.9]).
Practitioners’ judgments about CAM trial evidence depend on the type of treatments reported. Confirmation bias may play a role in the clinical translation of new evidence from clinical trials.
Health economists have largely ignored complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an area of research, although both clinical experiences and several empirical studies suggest cost-effectiveness of CAM.
To explore the cost-effectiveness of CAM compared with conventional medicine.
A dataset from a Dutch health insurer was used containing quarterly information on healthcare costs (care by general practitioner (GP), hospital care, pharmaceutical care, and paramedic care), dates of birth and death, gender and 6-digit postcode of all approximately 150,000 insurees, for the years 2006–2009. Data from 1913 conventional GPs were compared with data from 79 GPs with additional CAM training in acupuncture (25), homeopathy (28), and anthroposophic medicine (26).
Patients whose GP has additional CAM training have 0–30% lower healthcare costs and mortality rates, depending on age groups and type of CAM. The lower costs result from fewer hospital stays and fewer prescription drugs.
Since the differences are obtained while controlling for confounders including neighborhood specific fixed effects at a highly detailed level, the lower costs and longer lives are unlikely to be related to differences in socioeconomic status. Possible explanations include selection (e.g. people with a low taste for medical interventions might be more likely to choose CAM) and better practices (e.g. less overtreatment, more focus on preventive and curative health promotion) by GPs with knowledge of complementary medicine. More controlled studies (replication studies, research based on more comprehensive data, cost-effectiveness studies on CAM for specific diagnostic categories) are indicated.
Healthcare costs; Life expectancy; Complementary medicine; I11; I12
In Western countries, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is more and more provided by practitioners and family doctors. To base this reality of health care provision on an evidence-base, academic medicine needs to be included in the development. In the study we aimed to gain information on a structured approach to include CAM in academic health centers. We conducted a semistructured interview study with leading experts of integrative medicine to analyze strategies of existing academic institutions of integrative medicine. The study sample consisted of a purposive sample of ten leaders that have successfully integrated CAM into medical schools in the USA, Great Britain, and Germany and the Director of the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Analysis was based on content analysis. The prerequisite to foster change in academic medicine was a strong educational and professional background in academic medicine and research methodologies. With such a skill set, the interviewees identified a series of strategies to align themselves with colleagues from conventional medicine, such as creating common goals, networking, and establishing well-functioning research teams. In addition, there must be a vision of what should be needed to be at the center of all efforts in order to implement successful change.
Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and especially CAM practitioners, has continued to rise in recent years. Although several motivators of CAM use have been identified, little is known about how and if the motivations for using CAM have changed over time. The purpose of the current study was to compare the reasons for consulting CAM practitioners in consumers in 1997–8 and eight years later in 2005.
Surveys were displayed in CAM and conventional medicine offices and clinics in Ontario, Canada in 1997–8 and again in 2005, and self-selected participants returned the surveys by mail.
In 1997–8, 141 CAM consumers were identified from the 199 surveys returned, and 185 CAM consumers were identified from the 239 surveys returned in 2005. Five of the six CAM motivations were more likely to be endorsed by the 2005 CAM consumers compared to the 1997–8 CAM consumers (all p's < .0001). In 1997–8 the two top reasons for using CAM were that CAM allowed them to take an active role in their health (51.8%), and because conventional medicine was ineffective for their health problem (41.8%). In 2005, the treatment of the whole person (78.3%) was the top reason for using CAM followed by taking an active role in one's health (76.5%). The 2005 consumers were less educated, had slightly more chronic health complaints, had been using CAM for longer, and were more likely to consult chiropractors, reflexologists, and therapeutic touch practitioners than the 1997–8 consumers. Otherwise, the socio-demographic and health profiles of the two groups of CAM consumers were similar, as was their use of CAM.
Compared to consumers in 1997–8, consumers in 2005 were more likely to endorse five of the six motivations for consulting CAM practitioners. A shift towards motivations focusing more on the positive aspects of CAM and less on the negative aspects of conventional medicine was also noted for the 2005 consumers. Findings suggest that CAM motivations may shift over time as public knowledge of and experience with CAM also changes.
Objectives: The researcher conducted qualitative research about the role of health care professionals and librarians involved with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The goals were to identify resources these professionals use to explore the librarians' role as well as their approaches to teaching and searching with respect to CAM, to acquire information about CAM education, and to connect with other librarians in the CAM field.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were used.
Results: Sixteen health care and information professionals from ten different institutions in Boston, Baltimore, and Calgary were interviewed. Major themes from the interviews were: CAM funding, integration of CAM and conventional medicine, roles of librarians, “hot” CAM issues, and information access. Information about four aspects of CAM education—technology, undergraduate, graduate, and continuing—is presented. A wealth of information resources was identified.
Conclusions: A CAM librarian's role is unique; many specialize in specific areas of CAM, and opportunities exist for librarians to partner with CAM groups. CAM information professionals' major roles involve information access and retrieval and education. Further study is required concerning CAM consumer health, integrative CAM and conventional medicine models, and the librarian's role in a CAM environment. CAM funding is a major concern.
While almost half of women use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) during their menopause, almost no literature explores why women choose CAM for menopausal symptoms. Clinician–patient conversations about CAM can be unsatisfactory, and exploration of women’s choices may benefit communication.
The objective of this study was to describe women’s choices to use CAM for menopausal health issues.
This is a qualitative study utilizing semi-structured interviews.
Convenience sample of 44 menopausal women ages 45 to 60 recruited in two primary care clinics. Both users and non-users of CAM were included.
Transcripts of semi-structured interviews were analyzed for themes that were refined through comparison of labeled text.
Four themes emerged in decisions to use CAM: (1) valuing CAM as “natural”, although the meaning of “natural” varied greatly, (2) perceiving menopause as marking a change in life stage, (3) seeking information about menopause generated from personal intuition and other women’s experiences, and (4) describing experiences before menopause of using CAM and allopathic medication in patterns similar to current use (patterned responses).
Women’s decisions about using CAM during menopause can be understood through their perspectives on menopause and overall health. Increased clinician awareness of these themes may promote supportive discussions about CAM during counseling for menopause.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0537-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
menopause; complementary therapies; decision-making
Studies exploring the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to enhance fertility are limited. While Australian trends indicate that women are using CAM during pregnancy, little is known about women's use of CAM for fertility enhancement. With the rising age of women at first birth, couples are increasingly seeking assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to achieve parenthood. It is likely that CAM use for fertility enhancement will also increase, however this is not known. This paper reports on an exploratory study of women's use of CAM for fertility enhancement.
Three focus groups were conducted in Melbourne, Australia in 2007; two with women who used CAM to enhance their fertility and one with CAM practitioners. Participants were recruited from five metropolitan Melbourne CAM practices that specialise in women's health. Women were asked to discuss their views and experiences of both CAM and ART, and practitioners were asked about their perceptions of why women consult them for fertility enhancement. Groups were digitally recorded (audio) and transcribed verbatim. The data were analysed thematically.
Focus groups included eight CAM practitioners and seven women. Practitioners reported increasing numbers of women consulting them for fertility enhancement whilst also using ART. Women combined CAM with ART to maintain wellbeing and assist with fertility enhancement. Global themes emerging from the women's focus groups were: women being willing to 'try anything' to achieve a pregnancy; women's negative experiences of ART and a reluctance to inform their medical specialist of their CAM use; and conversely, women's experiences with CAM being affirming and empowering.
The women in our study used CAM to optimise their chances of achieving a pregnancy. Emerging themes suggest the positive relationships achieved with CAM practitioners are not always attained with orthodox medical providers. Women's views and experiences need to be considered in the provision of fertility services, and strategies developed to enhance communication between women, medical practitioners and CAM practitioners. Further research is needed to investigate the extent of CAM use for fertility enhancement in Australia, and to explore the efficacy and safety of CAM use to enhance fertility, in isolation or with ART.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is increasingly popular with cancer patients and yet information provision or discussion about CAM by health professionals remains low. Previous research suggests that patients may fear clinicians' 'disapproval' if they raise the subject of CAM, and turn to other sources to acquire information about CAM. However, little empirical research has been conducted into how cancer patients acquire, and, more importantly evaluate CAM information before deciding which CAM therapies to try.
Qualitative study, comprising semi-structured interviews with 43 male cancer patients of varying ages, cancer type and stage of illness, 34 of whom had used CAM. They were recruited from a range of NHS and non-NHS settings in Bristol, England.
As a result of the lack of CAM information from health professionals, men in this study became either 'pro-active seekers' or 'passive recipients' of such information. Their main information resource was the 'lay referral' network of family, friends and acquaintances, especially females. 'Traditional' information sources, including books, magazines, leaflets and the media were popular, more so in fact than the internet. Views on the internet ranged from enthusiasm or healthy scepticism through to caution or disinterest. CAM information was generally regarded as 'empowering' as it broadened treatment and self-care options. A minority of participants were information averse fearing additional choices that might disrupt their fragile ability to cope. There was general consensus that CAM information should be available via the NHS, to give it a 'stamp of approval', which combined with guidance from informed health professionals, could help patients to make 'guided' choices. However, a small minority of these men valued the independence of CAM from the NHS and deliberately sought 'alternative' information sources and treatment options.
Men were selective in identifying particular therapies to use and sceptical about others, basing their choices on forms of 'evidence' that were personally meaningful: personal stories of individuals who had been helped by CAM; the long history and enduring popularity of some therapies; the plausibility of the mechanism of action; a belief or trust in individual therapies or their providers; scientific evidence. Scientific evidence ranked low in the men's personal decision-making about CAM, while it was recognised as important for NHS support for CAM.
These male cancer patients valued the support and guidance of 'trusted individuals' in making choices about CAM. Trusted health professionals could also play a significant role in helping patients to make informed choices. Any such dialogue must, however, acknowledge the different standards of evidence used by patients and clinicians to evaluate the benefits or otherwise of CAM therapies. Such open communication could help to foster an environment of mutual trust where patients are encouraged to discuss their interest in CAM, rather than perpetuate covert, undisclosed use of CAM with its attendant potential hazards.
Despite the substantive literature from survey research that has accumulated on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States and elsewhere, very little research has been done to assess conceptual domains that CAM and conventional providers would emphasize in CAM survey studies. The objective of this study is to describe and interpret the results of concept mapping with conventional and CAM practitioners from a variety of backgrounds on the topic of CAM.
Concept mapping, including free sorts, ratings, and multidimensional scaling was used to organize conceptual domains relevant to CAM into a visual "cluster map." The panel consisted of CAM providers, conventional providers, and university faculty, and was convened to help formulate conceptual domains to guide the development of a CAM survey for use with United States military veterans.
Eight conceptual clusters were identified: 1) Self-assessment, Self-care, and Quality of Life; 2) Health Status, Health Behaviors; 3) Self-assessment of Health; 4) Practical/Economic/ Environmental Concerns; 5) Needs Assessment; 6) CAM vs. Conventional Medicine; 7) Knowledge of CAM; and 8) Experience with CAM. The clusters suggest panelists saw interactions between CAM and conventional medicine as a critical component of the current medical landscape.
Concept mapping provided insight into how CAM and conventional providers view the domain of health care, and was shown to be a useful tool in the formulation of CAM-related conceptual domains.
Evidence indicates that people who reside in non-urban areas have a higher use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) than people who reside in urban areas. However, there is sparse research on the reasons for such differences. This paper investigates the reasons for geographical differences in CAM use by comparing CAM users from four geographical areas (major cities, inner regional, outer region, rural/remote) across a range of health status, healthcare satisfaction, neighbourhood and community factors.
A cross-sectional survey of 1,427 participants from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) conducted in 2009.
The average total cost of consultations with CAM practitioners was $416 per annum and was highest for women in the major cities, declining with increasing distance from capital cities/remoteness (p < 0.001). The average total cost of self-prescribed CAM was $349 per annum, but this did not significantly differ across geographical areas. The increased use of CAM in rural and remote areas appears to be influenced by poorer access to conventional medical care (p < 0.05) and a greater sense of community (p < 0.05) amongst these rural and remote residents. In contrast to the findings of previous research this study found that health status was not associated with the differences in CAM use between urban and non-urban areas.
It appears that a number of factors influence the different levels of CAM use across the urban/non-urban divide. Further research is needed to help tease out and understand these factors. Such research will help support health care policy and practice with regards to this topic.
The use of Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) has increased over the past years. In Germany, many general practitioners (GPs) use CAM in their daily practice. However, little is known about possible differences of GPs using CAM compared to GPs not using CAM. The aim of the study was to explore differences in personal and practice characteristics, work load and job satisfaction of GPs depending on their use of and attitude towards CAM. Furthermore, predictors for CAM use should be explored.
A questionnaire was developed based on qualitatively derived data. In addition, a validated instrument assessing job satisfaction was included in the questionnaire, which was sent to 3000 randomly selected GPs in Germany.
1027 returned the questionnaire of which 737 indicated to use CAM in daily practice. We found that GPs using CAM are more female, younger and have a trend towards a healthier life style. Their practices have higher proportions of privately insured patients and are slightly better technically equipped with ultrasound. GPs with a positive attitude had significant better values within the job satisfaction scale and lower working hours per week compared to GPs with neutral/negative attitude. Significant predictors for CAM use were a positive attitude towards CAM, holding a special qualification in CAM, own CAM use and the availability of an ultrasound in practice.
The identified differences suggest that those GPs using and believing in CAM have a different medical orientation and approach which in turn may influence their job satisfaction. With this finding CAM use turns out to be a relevant factor regarding job satisfaction and, with this, may be a possible lever to counteract the growing dissatisfaction of GPs in Germany. This finding could also be important for designing strategies to promote the recruitment of young doctors to general practice.
New Canadian policy to regulate natural health products (NHPs), such as herbs and vitamins were implemented on January 1st, 2004. We explored complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners' perceptions of how the new regulations may affect their practices and relationships with patients/consumers.
This was an applied ethnographic study. Data were collected in fall 2004 via qualitative interviews with 37 Canadian leaders of four CAM groups that use natural products as a core part of their practises: naturopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathic medicine and Western herbalism. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded independently by a minimum of two investigators using content analysis.
Three key findings emerged from the data: 1) all CAM leaders were concerned with issues of their own access to NHPs; 2) all the CAM leaders, except for the homeopathic leaders, specifically indicated a desire to have a restricted schedule of NHPs; and 3) only naturopathic leaders were concerned the NHP regulations could potentially endanger patients if they self-medicate incorrectly.
Naturopaths, TCM practitioners, homeopaths, and Western herbalists were all concerned about how the new NHP regulations will affect their access to the products they need to practice effectively. Additional research will need to focus on what impacts actually occur as the regulations are implemented more fully.
This paper examines the (in)compatibility between the diagnostic and therapeutic theories of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and a science-based regulatory framework. Specifically, the paper investigates the nexus between statutory legitimacy and scientific validation of health systems, with an examination of its impact on the development of complementary and alternative therapies. The paper evaluates competing theories for validating CAM ranging from the RCT methodology to anthropological perspectives and contends that while the RCT method might be beneficial in the regulation of many CAM therapies, yet dogmatic adherence to this paradigm as the exclusive method for legitimizing CAM will be adverse to the independent development of many CAM therapies whose philosophies and mechanisms of action are not scientifically interpretable. Drawing on history and research evidence to support this argument, the paper sues for a regulatory model that is accommodative of different evidential paradigms in support of a pluralistic healthcare system that balances the imperative of quality assurance with the need to ensure access.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often used alongside conventional medical care, yet fewer than half of patients disclose CAM use to medical doctors. CAM disclosure is particularly low among racial/ethnic minorities, but reasons for differences, such as type of CAM used or quality of conventional healthcare, have not been explored.
We tested the hypotheses that disclosure of CAM use to medical doctors is higher for provider-based CAM and among non-Hispanic whites, and that access to and quality of conventional medical care account for racial/ethnic differences in CAM disclosure.
Bivariate and multiple variable analyses of the 2002 National Health Interview Survey and 2001 Health Care Quality Survey were performed.
Disclosure of CAM use to medical providers was higher for provider-based than self-care CAM. Disclosure of any CAM was associated with access to and quality of conventional care and higher among non-Latino whites relative to minorities. Having a regular doctor and quality patient–provider relationship mitigated racial/ethnic differences in CAM disclosure.
Insufficient disclosure of CAM use to conventional providers, particularly for self-care practices and among minority populations, represents a serious challenge in medical encounter communications. Efforts to improve disclosure of CAM use should be aimed at improving consistency of care and patient–physician communication across racial/ethnic groups.
complementary and alternative medicine; race/ethnicity; communication; access; quality of care
The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among women in the United States is high. Little is known about how CAM use may differ based on sexual orientation. Study aims were to measure the prevalence of CAM use in a community sample of women, explore differences in CAM use patterns by sexual orientation, and identify correlates of CAM use.
Analyses were based on women (Total N = 879; n = 479 lesbians) enrolled in the Epidemiologic STudy of HEalth Risk in Women (ESTHER) Project, a cross-sectional heart-disease risk-factor study.
Data were collected through convenience sampling of adult females in Pittsburgh, PA (2003–2006).
Main outcome measures included lifetime and past 12-month CAM use, and types of CAM modalities used in the past 12 months.
The prevalence of having ever used CAM was 49.8%, with 42% having reported CAM use within the past 12 months. Lesbians had greater odds of having ever used CAM (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.68 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.23, 2.28]) and of having used CAM in the past 12 months (AOR = 1.44 [CI: 1.06, 1.97]) than heterosexuals. In multivariate analyses, correlates of lifetime and past 12-month CAM use included being lesbian, white, higher educated, and a large-city resident; experiencing perceived discrimination in a health care setting; and having a greater spirituality rating and a history of a diagnosed mental health disorder. Past 12-month CAM use was also associated with having a provider of usual health care. Among women who used CAM within the past 12 months, heterosexuals had significantly higher yoga participation rates than lesbians.
Sexual orientation is important in understanding lifetime and past 12-month CAM use. Because of the high prevalence of CAM use found in this study, medical practitioners should inquire about the CAM practices of female patients, particularly lesbians.
The aim of this publication is to present a case study of how to locate and appraise qualitative studies for the conduct of a meta-ethnography in the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is commonly associated with individualized medicine. However, one established scientific approach to the individual, qualitative research, thus far has been explicitly used very rarely. This article demonstrates a case example of how qualitative research in the field of CAM studies was identified and critically appraised.
Several search terms and techniques were tested for the identification and appraisal of qualitative CAM research in the conduct of a meta-ethnography. Sixty-seven electronic databases were searched for the identification of qualitative CAM trials, including CAM databases, nursing, nutrition, psychological, social, medical databases, the Cochrane Library and DIMDI.
9578 citations were screened, 223 articles met the pre-specified inclusion criteria, 63 full text publications were reviewed, 38 articles were appraised qualitatively and 30 articles were included. The search began with PubMed, yielding 87% of the included publications of all databases with few additional relevant findings in the specific databases. CINHAL and DIMDI also revealed a high number of precise hits. Although CAMbase and CAM-QUEST® focus on CAM research only, almost no hits of qualitative trials were found there. Searching with broad text terms was the most effective search strategy in all databases.
This publication presents a case study on how to locate and appraise qualitative studies in the field of CAM. The example shows that the literature search for qualitative studies in the field of CAM is most effective when the search is begun in PubMed followed by CINHAL or DIMDI using broad text terms. Exclusive CAM databases delivered no additional findings to locate qualitative CAM studies.
CAM; Qualitative studies; Meta-Ethnography; Quality appraisal