Research: SHIH and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 166


SHIH and COLLEAGUES,  Center for Health Policy Research and Development, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan Town, Miaoli County, Taiwan.  studied, using Taiwan's health care system and comprehensive insurance program the use and frequency of complementary medicine.


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been characterized by prevalence, cost, and patterns of use. Factors determining its utilization have also been analyzed, either generally or for specific diseases, but few studies have considered the determinants of its frequency of use. Taiwan's pluralistic health care system and comprehensive insurance program covering Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) provide an interesting case to explore what forms of CAM people use, why and how often they use them.


By using Taiwan's 2001 National Health Interview Survey and linking it with National Health Insurance (NHI) claims data, this study aims to investigate the socio-demographic, economic, behavioral and health determinants of use and frequency of use for both non-covered and covered CAM in Taiwan. The former consists of services practiced by non-regulated or non-NHI contracted practitioners and the latter includes those TCM covered by NHI.


Our study showed that the determinants of using non-covered and covered CAM differ with respect to socio-demographic and behavioral factors, and health needs.


Our evidence suggests that future CAM research must delineate between use and frequency of use to better understand the underlying factors contributing to initiation and continuity of CAM use.


Shih, Shu-Fang.  Lew-Ting, Chih-Yin.  Chang, Hsing-Yi.  Kuo, Ken N. Insurance covered and non-covered complementary and alternative medicine utilisation among adults. Social Science & Medicine. 67(7): 1183-9. Oct 2008.

ICAN Skyscraper

Scientific and Medical Network 2

Cycle Around the World for Charity 2023

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Charity 2023

Cycle from Milan to Venice for Regain 2023

top of the page