OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify experiences and perception of conventional (Western, allopathic) medical practitioners toward integrative, complementary, and alternative medicine (ICAM).
METHODS: There are approximately 1200 conventional medical doctors in Mangalore, India. In February 2017, semistructured self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 200 medical practitioners. The association between categorical variables was analyzed using a χ2 test and those involving continuous variables using unpaired t test, analysis of variance, and Karl Pearson's coefficient of correlation. A P value ≤ .05 was considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: Of the surveys, 163 were returned and 129 were satisfactorily completed, giving a response rate of 64.5%. Mean age was 39.9 ± 11.9 years, and most 94 (72.9%) were male. A majority, 96 (74.4%), recommended ICAM to their patients. Nine had some training in ICAM modalities, and 76 (58.9%) participants reported personal usage of ICAM. Regarding perception toward effectiveness of ICAM, 33 (25.6%) felt that it was effective or somewhat effective. However, 82 (63.6%) participants felt that lack of sufficient scientific evidence was a major drawback of ICAM. However, 39 (30.2%) participants felt that ICAM should be part of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery curricula. Favorable perception toward ICAM (P < .001) and personal usage of ICAM (P < .001) was associated with participants recommending any ICAM for their patients. Elderly practitioners (aged above 65 years) (P = .003) and practitioners with favorable perception regarding effectiveness of ICAM (P = .033) recommended a higher number of types of ICAM to their patients. Favorable perception toward effectiveness of ICAM was associated with favorable perception toward inclusion of ICAM in medical curriculum among participants (P = .002).
CONCLUSION: Most participants recommended ICAM to their patients and also reported personal usage of the same.
Author keywords: Medicine, Complementary Therapies, Integrative Medicine
Author affiliations: NJ: Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Mangalore, Karnataka State, India; CT, IS, MS, DAS, IM: Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka State, India
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