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More People Using Non-Medical Care

From the September 4, 2001 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine comes an article with the long title, "Perceptions about Complementary Therapies Relative to Conventional Therapies among Adults Who Use Both: Results from a National Survey". The survey conducted tests for the usage of what the researchers call "Complementary Medicine." It should be noted that the term Complementary Medicine (also known as "CAM") usually means procedures that, in fact, are not medical procedures. The largest portion of this category of procedures is represented by chiropractic care.

The study did not separate the different Complementary Medicine procedures statistically, but the findings were none the less interesting. Some of the statistics were:

  • 79% of patients surveyed perceived the combination of CAM and conventional care to be superior than either form of care by itself.
  • Of those that used CAM services and conventional medical services, 70% saw their conventional provider first, 15% saw their CAM provider first.
  • Of those that used CAM services, 63% to 72% did not disclose that fact regarding at least one type of CAM service to their conventional medical provider.
  • 81% of respondents reported that they had "total" or "a lot of" confidence in their CAM provider, while 77% had the same levels of confidence in their medical providers.

In the same publication one month earlier was an article discussing the same subject of CAM. In the conclusion of that article some profound statements were made. "Previously reported analyses of these data showed that more than one third of the U.S. population was currently using CAM therapy in the year of the interview (1997). Subsequent analyses of lifetime use and age at onset showed that 67.6% of respondents had used at least one CAM therapy in their lifetime." The article ended with, "Use of CAM therapies by a large proportion of the study sample is the result of a secular trend that began at least a half century ago. This trend suggests a continuing demand for CAM therapies that will affect health care delivery for the foreseeable future.