The supply of complementary and alternative medicine in Swiss hospitals

Widmer, Marcel; Dönges, Andreas; Wapf, Victoria; Busato, André; Herren, Sylvia (2006). The supply of complementary and alternative medicine in Swiss hospitals. Forschende Komplementärmedizin und klassische Naturheilkunde, 13(6), pp. 356-61. Basel: Karger 10.1159/000097254

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OBJECTIVES: Over the past few years, a considerable increase in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been observed, particularly in primary care. In contrast little is known about the supply of CAM in Swiss hospitals. This study aims at the investigation of amount and structure of CAM activities of Swiss hospitals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We designed a cross-sectional survey using a 2-step, questionnaire- based approach acquiring overview information form hospital managers in a first questionnaire leading to detailed information on CAM usage at medical department level (head of department). This second questionnaire provides data of physician-based and non-physician-based CAM supply. RESULTS: The size of hospitals was significantly associated with the provision of CAM. 33% of the hospital managers indicated 1 or more medical doctor (MD) using CAM in their hospital compared to 37% of confirmation on department level (Kappa value 0.5). Mostly different CAM methods were applied. Acupuncture was used most frequently. However only 13 hospitals (11%) occupied more than 3 CAM MDs and only 5 hospitals had more than 2 full-time equivalents for MDs. Furthermore, 74.7% of these personnel resources were dedicated for outpatient care. In terms of CAM methods anthroposophic medicine accounted for more than half of the total personnel costs. On the other hand usage of non-physician based CAM accounted for 41% according to hospital managers compared to 64% of CAM usage according to medical departments (Kappa values 0.31). Reflexology of the foot was used most frequently. CONCLUSION: Total supply of CAM in Swiss hospitals is low and concentrates on few hospitals. Acupuncture is the widest spread discipline but anthroposophic medicine spends the most resources. The study shows that a high patient demand for CAM faces low supply in hospitals.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Evaluative Research into Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Widmer, Marcel and Busato, André










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:48

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 21:48

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URI: (FactScience: 3089)

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