Original contribution| Volume 39, ISSUE 5, P569-575, November 2010

The Knowledge and Usage of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Emergency Department Patients and Physicians

Published:September 01, 2008DOI:


      Objectives: To evaluate Emergency Department (ED) patients' desire to discuss complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with their emergency physicians, their willingness to try CAM for their presenting complaint, and emergency physicians' attitudes, beliefs, and usage of CAM. Methods: A written questionnaire asking about CAM knowledge, usage, and interest was administered to a convenience sample of ED patients and put in work mailboxes of emergency physicians at an academic tertiary care referral center with an emergency medicine residency program. Results: Of the 75 patients surveyed, 54.7% stated that they were currently using or had used some form of CAM in the past. Only 24% of patients stated that they would discuss their usage of CAM with their emergency physician. Eighty-one percent of patients thought it was important for their physicians to be educated about CAM, and 85% would be willing to incorporate CAM into the treatment of their presenting complaint. Out of 34 emergency physicians, 28 (82%) completed their surveys. Forty percent of physicians stated that they are currently using or had used some form of CAM in the past. Ninety-six percent of physicians surveyed thought it was important for physicians to be educated about CAM and were willing to discuss CAM with their patients. Conclusion: The use and public acceptance of CAM in our study population, for both patients and physicians, was high. Although patients and physicians need more education about CAM, both made it clear that they desire and are willing to discuss CAM with each other.


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