Towards concordance in healthcare: Perspectives of general practitioners, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and pharmacists in Australia
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Partnerships and concordance are desirable concepts for optimal healthcare. The concept of concordance is based on negotiation between equals in a therapeutic relationship, forming a therapeutic alliance between all partners. One field of healthcare in which concordant relationships may be particularly desirable is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is increasingly used by consumers worldwide, and provider-patient relationships are important across the spectrum of CAM-to-conventional medicine; thus, it was considered useful to research CAM and concordance in parallel. The objective of this problem-detection study (PDS) was to investigate practitioners' (general practitioners', pharmacists' and CAM practitioners') views on their relationships and reaching concordant partnerships with consumers in the areas of both conventional medicine and CAM. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews guided the development of the PDS instrument. The questionnaire consisted of 36 items corresponding to seven thematic units deduced from the preliminary data. The differences in perceptions between the surveyed groups indicated that achieving concordance relies on mutual respect and communication and understanding of roles, responsibilities and limitations, and differences in opinion may be compromising the formation of partnerships. Potentially problematic issues identified by this research could be addressed by educational interventions and enhancement of communication between all parties involved, as information loses value when not shared, and may be prone to contradiction and confusion. Further research is warranted in order to facilitate positive changes in the health system. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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