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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

What do clinicians want? Interest in integrative health services at a North Carolina academic medical center

Kathi J Kemper1*, Deborah Dirkse1, Dee Eadie2 and Melissa Pennington3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

2 Department of Nursing, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

3 Department of Strategic Planning, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2007, 7:5  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-5

Published: 9 February 2007

Abstract

Background

Use of complementary medicine is common, consumer driven and usually outpatient focused. We wished to determine interest among the medical staff at a North Carolina academic medical center in integrating diverse therapies and services into comprehensive care.

Methods

We conducted a cross sectional on-line survey of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants at a tertiary care medical center in 2006. The survey contained questions on referrals and recommendations in the past year and interest in therapies or services if they were to be provided at the medical center in the future.

Results

Responses were received from 173 clinicians in 26 different departments, programs and centers. There was strong interest in offering several specific therapies: therapeutic exercise (77%), expert consultation about herbs and dietary supplements (69%), and massage (66%); there was even stronger interest in offering comprehensive treatment programs such as multidisciplinary pain management (84%), comprehensive nutritional assessment and advice (84%), obesity/healthy lifestyle promotion (80%), fit for life (exercise and lifestyle program, 76%), diabetes healthy lifestyle promotion (73%); and comprehensive psychological services for stress management, including hypnosis and biofeedback (73%).

Conclusion

There is strong interest among medical staff at an academic health center in comprehensive, integrated services for pain, obesity, and diabetes and in specific services in fitness, nutrition and stress management. Future studies will need to assess the cost-effectiveness of such services, as well as their financial sustainability and impact on patient satisfaction, health and quality of life.