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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Dec;3(4):495-501. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Physicians' attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine and their knowledge of specific therapies: a survey at an academic medical center.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the attitudes of physicians at an academic medical center toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies and the physicians' knowledge base regarding common CAM therapies. A link to a Web-based survey was e-mailed to 660 internists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA. Physicians were asked about their attitudes toward CAM in general and their knowledge regarding specific CAM therapies. The level of evidence a physician would require before incorporating such therapies into clinical care was also assessed. Of the 233 physicians responding to the survey, 76% had never referred a patient to a CAM practitioner. However, 44% stated that they would refer a patient if a CAM practitioner were available at their institution. Fifty-seven percent of physicians thought that incorporating CAM therapies would have a positive effect on patient satisfaction, and 48% believed that offering CAM would attract more patients. Most physicians agreed that some CAM therapies hold promise for the treatment of symptoms or diseases, but most of them were not comfortable in counseling their patients about most CAM treatments. Prospective, randomized controlled trials were considered the level of evidence required for most physicians to consider incorporating a CAM therapy into their practice. The results of this survey provide insight into the attitudes of physicians toward CAM at an academic medical center. This study highlights the need for educational interventions and the importance of providing physicians ready access to evidence-based information regarding CAM.

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