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      Medical Conditions and Preference of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Results from the China Healthcare Improvement Evaluation Survey


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          Although complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is used around the world, there has been a lack of comprehensive understanding of major factors affecting patients’ decision to use CAM. This study aimed to describe the preferences of Chinese patients regarding what conditions they will use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for and to determine the factors associated with these preferences.

          Patients and Methods

          This study used data from the China Healthcare Improvement Evaluation Survey in January 2021, a national cross-sectional survey conducted at 163 hospitals across 31 provinces. A convenient sampling method was used to conduct the patient satisfaction survey, and 28,993 patients in an ambulatory setting constituted our study sample on TCM use. A multiple-choice question regarding TCM listed nine medical conditions and asked the patient about what condition he/she and his/her family members would use TCM. In addition to descriptive statistics, we used a binary logistic regression model to investigate factors affecting the likelihood of patients’ decision to use TCM for multiple conditions.


          The majority of the surveyed patients (76.3%) would use TCM for the purpose of disease prevention, and more than half (67.3%) for multiple medical/health conditions, 34.0% for dealing with chronic diseases, 33.0% for common symptoms, 26.9% for rehabilitation, and 26.3% for sleeping disorder. Female and older patients, as well as patients with a higher education level, urban residency, and higher family income, were found to be associated with a higher probability of using TCM for multiple conditions than their counterparts (odd ratios [OR]>1, P<0.05).


          This study reveals a preference for TCM in a large sample of Chinese patients, especially used for prevention. Generally, patients with a higher socioeconomic status had a more positive attitude toward TCM.

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          Most cited references48

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          Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997: results of a follow-up national survey.

          A prior national survey documented the high prevalence and costs of alternative medicine use in the United States in 1990. To document trends in alternative medicine use in the United States between 1990 and 1997. Nationally representative random household telephone surveys using comparable key questions were conducted in 1991 and 1997 measuring utilization in 1990 and 1997, respectively. A total of 1539 adults in 1991 and 2055 in 1997. Prevalence, estimated costs, and disclosure of alternative therapies to physicians. Use of at least 1 of 16 alternative therapies during the previous year increased from 33.8% in 1990 to 42.1% in 1997 (P < or = .001). The therapies increasing the most included herbal medicine, massage, megavitamins, self-help groups, folk remedies, energy healing, and homeopathy. The probability of users visiting an alternative medicine practitioner increased from 36.3% to 46.3% (P = .002). In both surveys alternative therapies were used most frequently for chronic conditions, including back problems, anxiety, depression, and headaches. There was no significant change in disclosure rates between the 2 survey years; 39.8% of alternative therapies were disclosed to physicians in 1990 vs 38.5% in 1997. The percentage of users paying entirely out-of-pocket for services provided by alternative medicine practitioners did not change significantly between 1990 (64.0%) and 1997 (58.3%) (P=.36). Extrapolations to the US population suggest a 47.3% increase in total visits to alternative medicine practitioners, from 427 million in 1990 to 629 million in 1997, thereby exceeding total visits to all US primary care physicians. An estimated 15 million adults in 1997 took prescription medications concurrently with herbal remedies and/or high-dose vitamins (18.4% of all prescription users). Estimated expenditures for alternative medicine professional services increased 45.2% between 1990 and 1997 and were conservatively estimated at $21.2 billion in 1997, with at least $12.2 billion paid out-of-pocket. This exceeds the 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US hospitalizations. Total 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures relating to alternative therapies were conservatively estimated at $27.0 billion, which is comparable with the projected 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US physician services. Alternative medicine use and expenditures increased substantially between 1990 and 1997, attributable primarily to an increase in the proportion of the population seeking alternative therapies, rather than increased visits per patient.
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            Social Conditions As Fundamental Causes of Disease

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              Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey.

              The aim of this study was to explore the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer patients across a number of European countries. A descriptive survey design was developed. Fourteen countries participated in the study and data was collected through a descriptive questionnaire from 956 patients. Data suggest that CAM is popular among cancer patients with 35.9% using some form of CAM (range among countries 14.8% to 73.1%). A heterogeneous group of 58 therapies were identified as being used. Herbal medicines and remedies were the most commonly used CAM therapies, together with homeopathy, vitamins/minerals, medicinal teas, spiritual therapies and relaxation techniques. Herbal medicine use tripled from use before diagnosis to use since diagnosis with cancer. Multivariate analysis suggested that the profile of the CAM user was that of younger people, female and with higher educational level. The source of information was mainly from friends/family and the media, while physicians and nurses played a small part in providing CAM-related information. The majority used CAM to increase the body's ability to fight cancer or improve physical and emotional well-being, and many seemed to have benefited from using CAM (even though the benefits were not necessarily related to the initial reason for using CAM). Some 4.4% of patients, however, reported side-effects, mostly transient. It is imperative that health professionals explore the use of CAM with their cancer patients, educate them about potentially beneficial therapies in light of the limited available evidence of effectiveness, and work towards an integrated model of health-care provision.

                Author and article information

                Patient Prefer Adherence
                Patient Prefer Adherence
                Patient preference and adherence
                24 January 2023
                : 17
                : 227-237
                [1 ]School of Health Policy and Management, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College , Beijing, 100730, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yuanli Liu, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College , No. 9 Dongdansantiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100730, People’s Republic of China, Email liuyuanli_pumc@163.com
                © 2023 Zhao et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 50, Pages: 11
                Funded by: Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation;
                The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (2021-I2M-1-046). A Strategic Study on Healthy China Development and Health System Reform.
                Original Research

                use of traditional chinese medicine,medical conditions,consideration
                use of traditional chinese medicine, medical conditions, consideration


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