Measuring Patient Interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in a Rural/Community Family Medicine Residency Program in Northeast Tennessee

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has been demonstrated to be an effective addition to traditional medical practice. However, patient awareness of CAM techniques may be low, particularly in rural areas. The aim of this study is to measure adult patient interest in CAM, particularly Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMT), acupuncture, meditation, nutrition, and breathing techniques in a community Family Medicine practice. An anonymous survey was given to 200 adult patients in an outpatient clinic over the course of 3 months. Survey items were designed to assess if patients were aware of CAM, if they had experience with any of the mentioned modalities, if they were interested in the mentioned modalities, and which CAM services patients would like to see offered in clinic. In regards to having heard of CAM, 57.3% of patients had reported that they were aware of CAM, while 42.7% were not. Of those that had heard of CAM, 42.4% had experience with OMT, 55.1% had experienced acupuncture, 7.6% had experienced breathing techniques group, 14.4% had experienced nutrition groups, and 5.1% had experienced meditation groups. 22.3% of patients were not interested in any form of CAM being offered in clinic, while 77.7 were interested in at least one type of CAM. OMT held the highest rating among interested patients, with 29.1% wanting to see it offered in clinic. These results indicate that, while many patients were not aware of CAM, there was nonetheless a high degree of interest in seeing CAM techniques offered. The implication of this study is that CAM should be implemented in the clinic as soon as possible. Future research should assess the degree to which patients actually utilize these services, once offered.


Johnson City, TN

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