Understanding Patient Preference for Integrative Medical Care: Results from Patient Focus Groups
Journal Journal of General Internal Medicine
Publisher Springer New York
ISSN 0884-8734 (Print) 1525-1497 (Online)
Issue Volume 22, Number 11 / November, 2007
Category Original Article
Subject Collection Medicine
SpringerLink Date Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Anne M. McCaffrey1, 2 , Guy F. Pugh1 and Bonnie B. O’Connor2, 3
(1) Marino Center for Progressive Health, 2500 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA
(2) Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, Harvard Medical School Osher Institute, Boston, MA, USA
(3) Department of Pediatrics, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
Received: 14 January 2007 Revised: 20 June 2007 Accepted: 3 July 2007 Published online: 11 September 2007
Background Integrative medicine (IM), a combination of conventional and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), has become a popular source of medical care, yet little is known about its use.
Objective To identify the motivations of people who choose IM for their primary care needs.
Design Qualitative study from focus group data of regular users of IM.
Participants Six focus groups that include a total of 37 regular users of IM who consented to participate in a study of IM use.
Approach Focus group meetings were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative analysis using grounded theory was used to derive the motivations for use of IM.
Results Participants beliefs include the following: the combination of CAM and conventional medicine is better than either alone; health is a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual well being; nutrition and lifestyle play a role in wellness; and pharmaceuticals should be avoided except as a last resort. Participants suffer from health problems that are not well treated by conventional medicine. Participants want to discuss CAM with physicians and obtain guidance on its use. Participants want time with their providers, to feel listened to and to have the opportunity for shared decision-making.
Conclusion Much of what patients are seeking in integrative medical care is likely universally shared: a strong therapeutic relationship with providers who listen and provide time and knowledgeable advice. Users believe a combined approach of CAM and conventional medicine is better than either alone and want to be able to discuss CAM use with their providers.
KEY WORDS CAM - integrative medicine - patient satisfaction - therapeutic encounter
Anne M. McCaffrey