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Complementary & Alternative Medicine Popular Among Health Professionals

Posted Sep 17 2011 10:18pm
Posted on 2011-09-14 06:00:00 in Alternative Medicine | Healthcare and Public Policy |

A number of studies done in the general population have tracked a rise the use of complementary or alternative therapies: most notably, a 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that about 40% of adults sought nontraditional medical treatments.  Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies, which include dietary supplementation, energy healing, biofeedback, acupuncture, homeopathy, and more – have been gaining popularity in usage among health professionals. Pamela Jo Johnson, from Allina Hospitals and Clinics (Minnesota, USA), and colleagues analyzed data from the 2007 NHIS, using a sample of 14,329 employed U.S. adults. From this larger pool, they drew a subsample of 1,280 adults employed in ambulatory care settings or hospitals. The study population was categorized into providers (physicians, nurses), technicians (lab technologists, radiology technologists), and support workers (nursing aides, transcriptionists). Overall, 76% of healthcare professionals said they used at least one form of complementary or alternative therapy compared with 63% of the general population. Additionally, the team found that those employed in an ambulatory care setting were more likely to have used complementary or alternative treatments compared with hospital employees. Support workers were the least likely to use the nontraditional treatments compared with providers and technicians. In fact, compared with support workers, providers had over twice the odds of using practitioner-based alternative therapies in the past year, and almost three times the odds of using self-treatment.  Reporting that: “Health care workers are more likely than the general population to use [Complementary & Alternative Medicine],” the researchers submit that: “Among health care workers, health care providers are more likely to use [Complementary & Alternative Medicine] than other occupations.”

Pamela Jo Johnson, Andrew Ward, Lori Knutson, Sue Sendelbach.  “Personal Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) by U.S. Health Care Workers.”  Health Services Research, 22 Aug. 2011.

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