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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-12856

Joos, S; Musselmann, B; Miksch, A; Rosemann, T; Szecsenyi, J (2008). The role of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Germany - a focus group study of GPs. BMC Health Services Research, 8:127:1.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: There has been a marked increase in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in recent years worldwide. In Germany, apart from 'Heilpraktiker' (= state-licensed, non-medical CAM practitioners), some general practitioners (GPs) provide CAM in their practices. This paper aims to explore the attitudes of GPs about the role of CAM in Germany, in relation to the healthcare system, quality of care, medical education and research. Furthermore, experiences of GPs integrating CAM in their daily practice were explored. METHODS: Using a qualitative methodological approach 3 focus groups with a convenience sample of 17 GPs were conducted. The discussions were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: The majority of the participating GPs had integrated one or more CAM therapies into their every-day practice. Four key themes were identified based on the topics covered in the focus groups: the role of CAM within the German healthcare system, quality of care, education and research. Within the theme 'role of CAM within the healthcare system' there were five categories: integration of CAM, CAM in the Statutory Health Insurance, modernisation of the Statutory Health Insurance Act, individual healthcare services and 'Heilpraktiker'. Regarding quality of care there were two broad groups of GPs: those who thought patients would benefit from standardizing CAM and those who feared that quality control would interfere with the individual approach of CAM. The main issues identified relating to research and education were the need for the development of alternative research strategies and the low quality of existing CAM education respectively. CONCLUSION: The majority of the participating GPs considered CAM as a reasonable complementary approach within primary care. The study increased our understanding of GPs attitudes about the role of CAM within the German healthcare system and the use of 'Heilpraktiker' as a competing CAM-provider. It seems to be a need for increased funding for research, better education and remuneration by the Statutory Health Insurance in order to improve access to 'Integrative medicine' in Germany.

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23 citations in Web of Science®
28 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of General Practice
DDC:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:11 Feb 2009 15:55
Last Modified:28 Nov 2013 00:29
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-6963
Additional Information:Free full text article
Publisher DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-8-127
Official URL:http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6963-8-127.pdf
PubMed ID:18549476

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