Research: TEMPLEMAN and ROBINSON,

Listed in Issue 196

Abstract

TEMPLEMAN and ROBINSON, Monash University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, School of Rural Health, Department of Rural & Indigenous Health, Australia. kate.templeman@monash.edu review models of integrative medicine (IM) employed in contemporary health care settings and factors which affect and facilitate the success of IM in terms of the integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and conventional medicine in primary health care (PHC).

Background

To determine what models of integrative medicine (IM) are being employed in contemporary health care settings, and how and which factors affect and facilitate the success of IM in terms of the integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and conventional medicine in primary health care (PHC).

Methodology

Literature review; Australian and international PHC settings, and hospitals. Australian and international peer-reviewed literature identified from database searches, reference lists, desktop searches, texts, and relevant website searches (e.g., government and health-related departments and agencies). Focus was literature with the keywords 'integrative' or 'integrated' in conjunction with 'medicine' or 'health care'. Articles were analysed for descriptions of continuous and integrative services involving contemporary IM practices, their background, characteristics, and implementation.

Results

Classifications of IM in the literature present various ways that IM can be implemented, and it appears that strategies have been successfully developed to facilitate integration. Although few of the barriers to the integration of CAM and conventional medicine have been resolved, concerns over the legitimacy of CAM in health care (e.g., safety, biomedical evidence, and efficacy) are being overcome by the use of evidence-based practice in IM delivery. There are two dominant models of IM that have been developed. One is the selective combination of both biomedical evidence and experience-based evidence of both CAM and conventional medicine. The other is the selective incorporation of exclusively evidence-based CAMs into conventional medicine. The two model types signify different levels of equity between CAM and conventional medicine in regard to the power, autonomy, and control held by each. However, the factors common to all IM models, whether describing CAM as supplementary (and subordinate) or complementary (and partnered) to conventional medicine, is the concept of a health care model that aspires to be client-centred and holistic, with focus on health rather than disease as well as mutual respect among peer practitioners.

Conclusion

The growth and viability of IM will depend on evidence-based practices, non-hierarchal IM practices, and identifying the successful influences on the integration of CAM and conventional medicine for recognition of its inherent value in PHC.

References

Templeman K and Robinson A. Integrative medicine models in contemporary primary health care. [Review] Source Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 19(2):84-92. Apr 2011.

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