Research: BEN-ARYE and FRENKEL,

Listed in Issue 167


BEN-ARYE and FRENKEL,  Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. developed a tool to assist physicians in deciding whether to refer patients to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners.


Patients' extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can affect doctor-patient communication. Substantial numbers of patients expect their primary care physician to be able to refer them to CAM practitioners. However, a simple and practical referral CAM process is lacking.


We developed an 11-item questionnaire that addresses issues a physician should consider in determining whether to refer a patient for CAM treatment, including biopsychosocial and communication concerns and the safety and effectiveness of modalities. The tool was administered via questionnaires posted and e-mailed to primary care physicians and CAM practitioners.


Our CAM referral tool was found to be considerably useful in a primary care setting. High reliability and validity of the tool were found among the primary care physicians (Cronbach's alpha score of 0.867, spearman rho correlation 0.2-0.67) and moderate reliability among CAM practitioners (0.745).


We hope that our CAM referral tool will help advance the integration of CAM and conventional medicine.


Ben-Arye E and Frenkel M. Referring to complementary and alternative medicine--a possible tool for implementation. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 16(6): 325-30. Dec 2008.

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