To examine if patients with arthritis who reported using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) were more likely to tell their physicians about their CAM use if they rated their rheumatologist as using a more participatory decision-making style and what reasons patients gave for telling or not telling their rheumatologist about their CAM use.
A survey that asked about CAM use, health status, demographics, physician use of a participatory decision-making style, and medical skepticism was sent to individuals with arthritis who saw 23 rheumatologists at universities and private practice clinics in North Carolina. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the data.
A total of 92% of patients reported using CAM for their arthritis and 54% of these patients discussed their CAM use with their rheumatologist. Women, patients who used more types of CAM, and patients who rated their rheumatologist as using a more participatory decision-making style were significantly more likely to tell their physicians about their CAM use.
Our findings suggest that if rheumatologists use more participatory styles of decision making with patients and involve them when making treatment decisions, patients are more likely to tell them about their CAM use.