Case Studies

Patients Want Information on Alternative Medicine Options

Kristen Sparrow • October 22, 2012


Acupuncture needles on Woman's Upper Back
Patients Want Those Needles!!

This is a study published recently on what osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia patients want.  A stunning 92% want a Primary Care Doctor with some knowledge of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine), and 70% wanted a doctor who would refer to a CAM practitioner.

Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Sep 29. pii: S0738-3991(12)00341-2. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2012.08.013
Integration of complementary and alternative medicine in primary care: What do patients want?
Jong MC, van de Vijver L, Busch M, Fritsma J, Seldenrijk R.
Department Healthcare and Nutrition, Louis Bolk Institute, Driebergen, The Netherlands; Department Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden; National Information and Knowledge Centre for Integrative Medicine (NIKIM), The Netherlands. Electronic address:
To explore patients’ perspectives towards integration of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in primary care.
A total of 416 patients responded to the survey who suffered from osteoarthritis (51%), rheumatoid arthritis (29%) or fibromyalgia (24%). Prevalence of CAM use was 86%, of which 71% visited a CAM practitioner. Manual therapies, acupuncture and homeopathy were most frequently used. A minority (30%) actively communicated CAM use with their General Practitioner (GP). The majority (92%) preferred a GP who informed about CAM, 70% a GP who referred to CAM, and 42% wanted GPs to collaborate with CAM practitioners. Similar attitudes were found in the focus group and upon e-panel consultation.
Most patients in primary care want a GP who listens, inquires about CAM and if necessary refers to or collaborates with CAM practitioners.
To meet needs of patients, primary care disease management would benefit from an active involvement of GPs concerning CAM communication/referral. This study presents a model addressing the role of patients and GPs within such an integrative approach.