Research: HEWSON and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 128

Abstract

HEWSON and colleagues, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA, have written about a professional development programme for integrative medicine.

Background

To meet the increasing patient interest in complementary and alternative medicine, conventional physicians need to understand CAM, be willing to talk with their patients about it, and be open to recommending selected patients to appropriate therapies. In order to raise physicians' awareness of, and initiate attitudinal changes towards CAM in the context of integrative medical practice, the authors developed and implemented a professional development program.

Methodology

A randomized controlled study with a pre-post design in a large academic medical center was conducted. The 8-hour intervention used experiential and conceptual change educational approaches. 48 cardiologists were randomized to participant (n = 20) and control (n = 16) groups. A questionnaire measured physicians' conceptions of, and attitudes to CAM, the likelihood of changing practice patterns, and the factors most important in influencing such changes before and after the intervention.

Results

Both groups initially had little knowledge about, and negative attitudes towards CAM. The participant group had significant positive changes in their conceptions of CAM after the programme, and significant improvements when compared with the control group. Participant physicians significantly increased in their willingness to integrate CAM in their practices. All participants rated research evidence as the most important factor influencing their willingness to integrate CAM. Participants reflected enthusiasm for the experiential program.

Conclusion

It is possible to increase physician knowledge and change attitudes towards integrative medicine with an eight-hour intervention using experiential and conceptual change teaching approaches.

References

Hewson MG, Copeland HL, Mascha E, Arrigain S, Topol E, Fox JE. Integrative medicine: implementation and evaluation of a professional development program using experiential learning and conceptual change teaching approaches. Patient Education & Counseling 62 (1): 5-12, Jul 2006.

Comment

The above 2 research studies indicate that costs of complementary therapies do not increase healthcare costs, and that physicians are more willing to practise integrated medicine when exposed to and participate in complementary treatment programs.

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