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

ArticleinComplementary therapies in medicine 16(6):325-30 · January 2009with8 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.55 · 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.