Complementary therapy involvement of physicians: implications for practice and learning
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OBJECTIVE: We studied physicians' current and desired clinical role functions within the complementary health paradigm and their perceptions of the necessary educational programs to support them. DESIGN AND SETTING: A questionnaire to determine clinical activities within different complementary therapies was developed and mailed-out to 837 eligible physicians in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, using a modified Dillman approach. RESULTS: The overall response rate to the mailed survey was 49.8% (417/837), with response rates of 50.2% (115/229) for family physicians and 49.7% (302/608) for specialists. The amount of interactions around complementary therapies between physicians, their patients and complementary therapists appears to be low. At the same time, there is a growing interest among physicians about complementary therapies, particularly with respect to developing their knowledge about efficacy and enhancing their skills in assessment and counselling. CONCLUSIONS: The differential levels of acceptance of different therapies by physicians will influence integration of complementary therapies in mainstream medicine.
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