Integrative Care Centers in Academic Medical Centers Lack Consensus Policies

A study of policies in 39 randomly selected academic medical centers integrating complementary and alternative medical ("CAM") services into conventional care concluded few had consensus policies concerning CAM use.

Of the 39, 23 offered CAM services--most commonly, acupuncture, massage, dietary supplements, mind-body therapies, and music therapy. None had written policies concerning credentialing practices and malpractice liability. Only 10 reported a written policy governing use of dietary supplements, although 3 sold supplements in inpatient formularies, 1 in the psychiatry department, and 5 in outpatient pharmacies.

Thus, the paper concluded, few academic medical centers have sufficiently integrated CAM services into conventional care by developing consensus written policies governing credentialing, malpractice liability, and dietary supplement use. Further, considerable variability existed regarding the CAM services within academic medical centers as well as existing policies.

The paper catalogued which CAM therapies (ranging from acupuncture, aromatherapy, and chiropractic, to dog therapy, healing touch, massage therapy, music therapy, visualization, and yoga) were offered in various hospital departments (such as internal medicine, family medicine, cancer center, neurology, and elsewhere).

Cohen MH, Sandler L, Hrbek A, Davis RB, Eisenberg DM. Policies Pertaining to Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in a Random Sample of 39 Academic Health Centers. Alt Ther Health Med 2005;11:1:36-40.