Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Into Conventional Primary Care: The Patient Perspective

Moshe Frenkel, Eran Ben Arye, Carol Carlson, Victor Sierpina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore perspectives on integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into the conventional primary care setting among patients treated at a large academic family medicine clinic in Texas. Methods: We developed and administered a multiple choice questionnaire to evaluate perspectives of 502 patients on integrating CAM into the conventional primary healthcare system. All collected data were statistically analyzed to evaluate responses. Results: Among study participants, 66% indicated that they had used CAM treatments during the past year, 77% responded that they would be interested in using CAM during the next year, and 55.4% replied that they would like CAM therapies to be provided in their primary care clinic. Conclusion: The use of CAM in primary care settings in southern Texas is widespread. However, in this primary care setting, patients would like their family physician to provide and supervise these therapies. Practice Implications: Patients believe that there is an increased need for family physician involvement in providing and supervising CAM treatments. Our findings are preliminary but can provide a basis for multicenter, cross-cultural studies to further evaluate the patient perspective on the process of integrating CAM into the conventional primary healthcare system so that healthcare policy makers can better address public need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalExplore: The Journal of Science and Healing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Alternative medicine
  • complementary medicine
  • family medicine
  • health services research
  • integrative medicine
  • patient-centered care
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • General Nursing
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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