Evaluating the barriers to the utilization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States: An exploratory study

Journal article


Chatterjee, A. 2023. Evaluating the barriers to the utilization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States: An exploratory study. Advances in Integrative Medicine. https://doi.org/0.1016/j.aimed.2023.10.002
AuthorsChatterjee, A.
Abstract

Introduction
The utilization of certain forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is prevalent among adults in the United States. While researchers have extensively studied the factors influencing CAM use in Western countries, significant barriers to its adoption remain. This paper draws attention to the obstacles faced by individuals in their journey to using CAM.

Methods
Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 patients who had turned to CAM for managing a chronic illness/condition. These in-depth, face-to-face interviews occurred in Miami, USA, during 2014-15. The sampling, data collection, and analysis processes of this study adhered to the principles outlined in Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory approach.

Results
From the data, three central barriers to CAM utilization in the US emerged: 1) Financial barriers: A significant portion of CAM treatments is not covered by insurance, making them cost-prohibitive for many. 2) Skepticism and discouragement: Both conventional medical practitioners and a segment of the public exhibited a noticeable trend towards discouraging CAM use. 3) Evaluation challenges: Patients expressed difficulty in assessing the efficacy and benefits of various CAM treatments compared to their costs.

Discussion
Despite the widespread interest in and use of CAM in the US, numerous barriers hinder its broader integration into mainstream healthcare. These obstacles not only restrict healthcare choices for the general public but also appear to favor a select demographic, potentially based on income and availability of information.

KeywordsChronic illness; Complementary and alternative medicine
Year2023
JournalAdvances in Integrative Medicine
PublisherElsevier
ISSN2212-9588
2212-9596
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/0.1016/j.aimed.2023.10.002
Official URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221295882300085X?via%3Dihub
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Oct 2023
Deposited04 Dec 2023
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Restricted
Publisher's version
License
Output statusIn press
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