Author(s): Chung VC, Ma PH, Hong LC, Griffiths SM
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Abstract CONTEXT: Inteprofessional collaboration (IPC) between biomedically trained doctors (BMD) and traditional, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners (TCAMP) is an essential element in the development of successful integrative healthcare (IHC) services. This systematic review aims to identify organizational strategies that would facilitate this process. METHODS: We searched 4 international databases for qualitative studies on the theme of BMD-TCAMP IPC, supplemented with a purposive search of 31 health services and TCAM journals. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed using published checklist. Results of each included study were synthesized using a framework approach, with reference to the Structuration Model of Collaboration. FINDINGS: Thirty-seven studies of acceptable quality were included. The main driver for developing integrative healthcare was the demand for holistic care from patients. Integration can best be led by those trained in both paradigms. Bridge-building activities, positive promotion of partnership and co-location of practices are also beneficial for creating bonding between team members. In order to empower the participation of TCAMP, the perceived power differentials need to be reduced. Also, resources should be committed to supporting team building, collaborative initiatives and greater patient access. Leadership and funding from central authorities are needed to promote the use of condition-specific referral protocols and shared electronic health records. More mature IHC programs usually formalize their evaluation process around outcomes that are recognized both by BMD and TCAMP. CONCLUSIONS: The major themes emerging from our review suggest that successful collaborative relationships between BMD and TCAMP are similar to those between other health professionals, and interventions which improve the effectiveness of joint working in other healthcare teams with may well be transferable to promote better partnership between the paradigms. However, striking a balance between the different practices and preserving the epistemological stance of TCAM will remain the greatest challenge in successful integration.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Primary Healthcare: Open Access