Pediatricians' attitudes, experience and referral patterns regarding complementary/alternative medicine: a national survey

Anju Sawni, Ronald Thomas
  • BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, January 2007, Springer Science + Business Media
  • DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-7-18

pediatricican attitudes towards complementary/alternative medicine

What is it about?

To assess pediatricians' attitudes toward & practice of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) including their knowledge experience, & referral patterns for CAM therapies. An anonymous, self-report, 27-item questionnaire was mailed nationally to fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics in July 2004 with 648 respondents. Results found that discussions of CAM use were initiated by the family (70%) & only 37% of pediatricians asked about CAM use as part of routine medical history. Majority (84%) said more CME courses should be offered on CAM and 71% said they would consider referring patients to CAM practitioners. Medical conditions referred for CAM included; chronic problems (headaches, pain management, asthma, backaches) (86%), diseases with no known cure (55.5%) or failure of conventional therapies (56%), behavioral problems (49%), & psychiatric disorders (47%). Pediatricians' have a positive attitude towards CAM. Majority believe that their patients are using CAM, that asking about CAM should be part of routine medical history, would consider referring to a CAM practitioner and want more education on CAM.

Why is it important?

There is growing interest among patients, physicians, healthcare administrators, and third party payers in complementary/alternative medicine (CAM). CAM refers to a large range of therapies outside the domain of mainstream Western medicine that are used for the purpose of medical intervention, health promotion, or disease prevention. CAM also appears to be gaining acceptance among conventionally trained physicians. Several studies assessing attitudes, beliefs and use of CAM by primary care physicians in the US, Canada and Europe report that 10–80% of physicians expressed an interest in CAM, want more education on CAM, have a positive attitude towards CAM, and consider referring patients for CAM. The purpose of this study was to do a national survey to assess US pediatricians' attitudes, beliefs, experience, knowledge, referral patterns regarding CAM therapies and desire for continuing medical education (CME) regarding CAM therapies with the goal of helping to guide future research and medical education in CAM for pediatricians, both in training and practice..

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Anju Sawni