Patient Satisfaction Concerning CAM Discussions with Primary Care Providers

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The Ohio State University

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The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States has increased significantly within the past 20 years. More than one-third of Americans report participation in CAM. Despite this increase in use, only about half of primary care providers ask their patients about their use of CAM. The lack of providers’ inquiry and knowledge regarding CAM may leave patients feeling unsatisfied with their health care and ultimately decrease patients’ optimal mental and physical health. It is important to understand the satisfaction of patients to recognize if they are being provided with the care they need. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the satisfaction of people regarding CAM discussions with their primary care providers. This study used a descriptive survey design. Data were collected by a questionnaire which was distributed to a convenience sample of 113 participants at public venues. Participants were 18 years of age or older and able to read and write in English. The sample ranged in age from 20 to 90 years with most being Caucasian (81%) and female (67%). Results showed that 41 participants (36%) use CAM. Twenty-four participants (21%) were asked about their use of CAM by their provider, and 27 participants (24%) stated that they were satisfied with their discussions of CAM with their providers. There was no significant difference found between genders regarding their use of CAM, whether their provider asked about CAM use, and their satisfaction with their discussions. These findings indicate that there are few providers discussing CAM with their patients, despite how people would like to talk about CAM. Health care providers may want to become more knowledgeable about CAM therapies so that they can discuss these options with their patients and become more sensitive and holistic to the needs of their patients.



CAM, patient satisfaction, complementary medicine, alternative medicine