ABSTRACT: Physicians Want Education About Complementary and Alternative
Medicine to Enhance Communication With Their Patients
Background: More than one third of patients in the United States
use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); most also visit
conventional physicians. There is little information about how
physicians and patients discuss CAM.
We hypothesized that physicians
frequently fielded questions about CAM treatments but felt uncomfortable
discussing them owing to a lack of education.
Results: Of the 705 deliverable surveys, 302 (43%) were returned:
76% of physicians reported having patients using CAM; 59% had been
asked about specific CAM treatments; 48% had recommended CAM to a
patient; and 24% had personally used CAM.
of CAM was most strongly associated with physician self-use (odds
ratio, 6.98; P<.001). Few physicians felt comfortable discussing
CAM with their patients, and the overwhelming majority (84%)
thought they needed to learn more about CAM to adequately address
Conclusions: Education about CAM modalities is a significant
unmet need among Denver physicians, and education may
help alleviate the discomfort physicians have when answering
patients' questions about CAM.
Physicians who use CAM treatments
themselves are much more likely to recommend CAM for their patients
than physicians who do not.
[05/29/2002; Archives Of Internal Medicine]
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