National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Time to Talk Campaign

Interview with NCCAM Director, Dr. Briggs

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has launched an educational campaign to encourage the discussion of complementary and alternative medicine.

Transcript: 

AKINSO: The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has launched an educational campaign to encourage the discussion of complementary and alternative medicine. The campaign Time to Talk is designed to encourage patients and their health care providers to talk openly about all health care practices. Dr. Josephine Briggs, the Director of NCCAM, talked about the importance of the campaign.

BRIGGS: It's very important that health care providers and patients talk about these issues to ensure safe and good health care. We found in our survey that 20 percent of AARP respondents were taking more than five prescription medicines. So that means that the chance of some interactions and the need for discussion is all the greater in people with a lot of medication use. It's very important that health care providers know about CAM use so they can really be partners in health care. This is something docs need to know about, other health care providers need to know about, and patients need to talk about.

AKINSO: NCCAM and the AARP partnered on a consumer telephone survey to measure and understand communication practices between patients age 50 or older and their physicians. The survey confirms that patients and physicians often do not discuss the use of complementary and alternative medicine. Dr. Briggs says tips are available for patients to initiate the talking process with health care providers.

BRIGGS: Our health care campaign includes tips for patients. It suggests that people write down a list of what they're using—drugs and other modalities—and go to the doctor's office prepared to tell their doctor what is going on with their health care.

AKINSO: For more information about the campaign including tips, a toolkit, and many other resources visit www.nccam.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.