Patients seek integrative medicine for preventive approach to optimize health.
CONTEXT: Despite the tremendous growth of integrative medicine (IM) in clinical settings, IM has not been well characterized in the medical literature. OBJECTIVE: To describe characteristics and motivation of patients seeking care at an IM clinic. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Patients from a nine-site practice-based research network participated in this cross-sectional survey. Clinicians documented patients' medical conditions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Patients provided information on demographics, lifestyle factors, and reasons for seeking care at an IM center. Clinicians documented the medical condition treated and procedures performed at the visit. RESULTS: A total of 4,182 patients (84.5% white; 72.7% college-educated; and 73.4% female) reported their most important reasons for seeking IM. Top-ranked reasons were (1) "to improve health and wellness now to prevent future problems" (83.9%); (2) "to try new options for health care" (76.7%); and (3) "to maximize my health regardless of whether or not my illness is curable" (74.6%). Interestingly, the same top reasons were reported by subgroups of patients who sought IM for wellness, acute care, or chronic illness. Patient reports of lifestyle also demonstrated healthier behaviors than national samples indicate. Patients seeking clinical care at IM centers desire an expanded paradigm of health care, one that seeks to maximize health.
Wolever, RQ; Abrams, DI; Kligler, B; Dusek, JA; Roberts, R; Frye, J; Edman, JS; Amoils, S; Pradhan, E; Spar, M; Gaudet, T; Guarneri, E; Homel, P; Amoils, S; Lee, RA; Berman, B; Monti, DA; Dolor, R
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