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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Practical Considerations for developing, managing, and sustaining a complementary and alternative therapies program in a public health setting

Anne M. Doherty-Gilman, MPH, Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, #G133, Boston, MA 02115, 617-632-3810, Anne_Doherty@dfci.harvard.edu

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies are used widely by patients across America. It has been reported that more than one-third of adults claim to have used a CAM treatment (i.e. nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc.). It has also been reported that over 60% of patients did not disclose their use of CAM therapies to their physician. Patients are using CAM for many reasons, and often times it is to improve their quality of life and alleviate symptoms. CAM therapies present options for patients, they allow patients to make choices, and therefore they can be more participative in their health care decisions.

The American Hospital Association's Annual Survey of Hospitals showed that approximately 8% of hospitals in 1998 indicated that they offered CAM services, but that figure rose to 18% by 2004, and is believed to be increasing. There are numerous opportunities for integrating CAM programs into public health systems, but many health care leaders are unfamiliar with where to begin. This presentation will offer practical considerations for assessing the feasibility of offering CAM services in public health care settings and discuss helpful techniques for integration and administration. Data, scenarios, and lessons learned from the integration of a CAM program focusing on oncology patients in a non-profit healthcare institute will be used. We will describe mechanisms for successful program development and management which will include: effective staffing models, funding mechanisms, key operational aspects, communication needs, documentation standards, credentialing processes, and community health initiatives and partnerships.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Care Delivery, Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Managing Health and Leading Improvement: New Directions in Health Administration

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA