Alternative/complementary medicine: wider usage than generally appreciated

Author: Wolsko P//Ware L//Kutner J//Lin CT//Albertson G//Cyran L//Schilling L//Anderson RJ
Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver 80262, USA.
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med
Date published: 2000
Other: Volume ID: 6 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 321-6 , Word Count: 197

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that there is substantial use of a practitioner of alternative/complementary medicine by patients traditionally considered to be underserved.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional, self-administered survey study.

SETTINGS: Three university hospital-affiliated general ambulatory clinics serving patients of different socioeconomic status and racial origin.

SUBJECTS: Five hundred and thirty-six (93% of those attending) consecutive clinic attendees.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Past use and desired future use of one or more practitioners of five modalities of alternative/complementary medicine and willingness to pay for these modalities out-of-pocket.

RESULTS: Past usage and desired future usage of one or more practitioners of alternative/complementary medicine was comparable at the three clinic sites despite wide differences in socioeconomic status and willingness/ability to pay out-of-pocket for these services. Multivariable analyses revealed lower self-rated health status and female gender (both p < 0.006) but not income, race, age or education as independent, significant predictors of use of a practitioner of alternative/complementary medicine.

CONCLUSION: Usage of alternative/complementary medicine is not confined to any well-circumscribed socioeconomic group and is common in patients often considered to be underserved. Self-assessed lower health status is significantly and independently associated with use of a practitioner of alternative/complementary care.