Interface, interaction and integration: how people with chronic disease in Australia manage CAM and conventional medical services Academic Article uri icon


  • To understand the extent to which conventional and complementary health care are integrated for CAM users with chronic conditions.In-depth interviews and a self-administered questionnaire were used to collect data on care-seeking, self-management and CAM use among people with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease living in Victoria, Australia.Many participants reported regular, frequent and long-term use of CAM therapies to maintain their health or assist in the management of their chronic condition. They generally managed the interface between convention and complementary health care on their own, as the perceived or expressed negative attitudes of some doctors, or the belief that the doctor did not need to know, were barriers to the disclosure of CAM use. For a smaller group, there was interaction between conventional and CAM providers, which limited the extent of uncertainty and conflicting information being (mis)interpreted by consumers.Greater interaction between CAM and medical providers would be beneficial to consumers. Structural barriers, related to financing and service organization, need to be addressed. Attitudinal shifts of some health-care practitioners also need to be addressed, in the context of workforce development.

publication date

  • 2015