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Research Letter
April 2016

Nondisclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Primary Care PhysiciansFindings From the 2012 National Health Interview Survey

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Health Policy & Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • 2Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):545-546. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.8593

Although one-third of US adults report using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integration of CAM into the conventional medical system is inconsistent.1 Patients have shown a desire for their primary care physicians to inquire about CAM and refer to CAM practitioners (acupuncturist, massage therapists, etc), but primary care physicians rarely initiate conversations with patients about their use of CAM.2,3 Patients have also expressed concerns about discussing the use of CAM with their physicians, fearing disapproval.4 These communication barriers may prevent CAM from becoming fully integrated into patients’ treatment and self-care routines, especially if patients do not disclose their use of CAM to their primary care physicians. Using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), we identified patterns of CAM use in the United States and reasons for its nondisclosure from January 1 through December 31, 2012.

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