Referring to complementary and alternative medicine-A possible tool for implementation

Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
Complementary therapies in medicine (Impact Factor: 1.55). 01/2009; 16(6):325-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2008.02.008
Source: PubMed


Patients' extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can affect doctor-patient communication. Substantial numbers of patients expect their primary care physician to be able to refer them to CAM practitioners. However, a simple and practical referral CAM process is lacking.
We developed an 11-item questionnaire that addresses issues a physician should consider in determining whether to refer a patient for CAM treatment, including biopsychosocial and communication concerns and the safety and effectiveness of modalities. The tool was administered via questionnaires posted and e-mailed to primary care physicians and CAM practitioners.
Our CAM referral tool was found to be considerably useful in a primary care setting. High reliability and validity of the tool were found among the primary care physicians (Cronbach's alpha score of 0.867, spearman rho correlation 0.2-0.67) and moderate reliability among CAM practitioners (0.745).
We hope that our CAM referral tool will help advance the integration of CAM and conventional medicine.

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    • "safety, efficacy, mechanism of action, cost). Further, through these discussions physicians can also explore patient treatment preferences, which previous research has suggested is important in CAM communication [8] [33] [34]. When adopting a neutral stance towards CAM use, physicians leave the door open to CAM use without explicit encouragement or discouragement. "
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