Complementary medicine in general practice: A national survey of GP attitudes and knowledge

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Family Physician, 2010, 39 (12), pp. 946 - 950
Issue Date:
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Background: Integrative medicine is a holistic approach to patient care that utilises both conventional and complementary therapy. This article compares the demographics of Australian general practitioners who do, and those who do not, practise integrative medicine, and their perceptions and knowledge about complementary medicines. Method: A postal survey sent to a random sample of 4032 Australian GPs. Results: Data from 1178 GPs was analysed. While GPs who practise integrative medicine were more knowledgeable about complementary medicine and more aware of potential adverse reactions, there were significant knowledge gaps for both groups. Discussion: Many GPs incorporate complementary medicines into their practice, whether or not they identify with the 'integrative medicine' label. General practitioners need to be well informed about the evidence base for, and potential risks of, complementary medicines to ensure effective decision making. Use of available resources and inclusion of complementary medicine in education programs may assist this.
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