Health status and health care utilisation of patients in complementary and conventional primary care in Switzerland--an observational study

Busato, André; Dönges, Andreas; Herren, Sylvia; Widmer, Marcel; Marian, Florica (2006). Health status and health care utilisation of patients in complementary and conventional primary care in Switzerland--an observational study. Family practice, 23(1), pp. 116-24. Oxford: Oxford University Press 10.1093/fampra/cmi078

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BACKGROUND: The study is part of a nationwide evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in primary care in Switzerland. OBJECTIVES: Patient health status with respect to demographic attributes such as gender, age, and health care utilisation pattern was studied and compared with conventional primary care. METHODS: The study was performed as a cross-sectional survey including 11932 adult patients seeking complementary or conventional primary care. Patients were asked to document their self-perceived health status by completing a questionnaire in the waiting room. Physicians were performing conventional medicine and/or various forms of complementary primary care such as homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, neural therapy, herbal medicine, or traditional Chinese medicine. Additional information on patient demographics and yearly consultation rates for participating physicians was obtained from the data pool of all Swiss health insurers. These data were used to confirm the survey results. RESULTS: We observed considerable and significant differences in demographic attributes of patients seeking complementary and conventional care. Patients seeking complementary care documented longer lasting and more severe main health problems than patients in conventional care. The number of previous physician visits differed between patient groups, which indicates higher consumption of medical resources by CAM patients. CONCLUSIONS: The study supports the hypothesis of differences in socio-demographic and behavioural attributes of patients seeking conventional medicine or CAM in primary care. The study provides empirical evidence that CAM users are requiring more physician-based medical services in primary care than users of conventional medicine.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Evaluative Research into Orthopaedic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)

UniBE Contributor:

Busato, André; Widmer, Marcel and Marian, Florence






Oxford University Press




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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:47

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 09:14

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URI: (FactScience: 2667)

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