A Self-Report Measure of Clinicians' Orientation Toward Integrative Medicine

Published in: Health Services Research, v. 40, no. 5, pt. 1, Oct. 2005, p. 1553-1569

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004

by An-Fu Hsiao, Ron D. Hays, Gery W. Ryan, Ian D. Coulter, Ronald Andersen, Mary L. Hardy, David L. Diehl, Ka-Kit Hui, Neil S. Wenger

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OBJECTIVES: Patients in the U.S. often turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and may use it concurrently with conventional medicine to treat illness and promote wellness. However, clinicians vary in their openness to the merging of treatment paradigms. Because integration of CAM with conventional medicine can have important implications for health care, we developed a survey instrument to assess clinicians' orientation toward integrative medicine. STUDY SETTINGS: A convenience sample of 294 acupuncturists, chiropractors, primary care physicians, and physician acupuncturists in academic and community settings in California. DATA COLLECTION METHODS: The authors used a qualitative analysis of structured interviews to develop a conceptual model of integrative medicine at the provider level. Based on this conceptual model, we developed a 30-item survey (IM-30) to assess five domains of clinicians' orientation toward integrative medicine: openness, readiness to refer, learning from alternate paradigms, patient-centered care, and safety of integration. PRINICIPAL FINDINGS: Two hundred and two clinicians (69 percent response rate) returned the survey. The internal consistency reliability for the 30-item total scale and the five subscales ranged from 0.71 to 0.90. Item-scale correlations for the five subscales were higher for the hypothesized subscale than other subscales 75 percent or more of the time. Construct validity was supported by the association of the IM-30 total scale score (0 100 possible range, with a higher score indicative of greater orientation toward integrative medicine) with hypothesized constructs: physician acupuncturists scored higher than physicians (71 versus 50, p<.001), dual-trained practitioners scored higher than single-trained practitioners (71 versus 62, p<.001), and practitioners' self-perceived integrativeness was significantly correlated (r=0.60, p<.001) with the IM-30 total score. CONCLUSION: This study provides support for the reliability and validity of the IM-30 as a measure of clinicians' orientation toward integrative medicine. The IM-30 survey, which the authors estimate as requiring 5 minutes to complete, can be administered to both conventional and CAM clinicians.

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