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Defining Criteria for Guiding Cancer Patients to Find a Reputable Complementary Medicine Provider: Results of a Literature Review and a Consensus Procedure

Authors Rogge AA, Baur I, Blettner G, Holtkamp U, Horneber M, Jahn P, Joos S, Keberle S, Kettelgerdes A, Klemperer D, Längler A, Voiß P, Weis J, Witt CM

Received 11 September 2019

Accepted for publication 14 February 2020

Published 21 April 2020 Volume 2020:14 Pages 747—755


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Alizé A Rogge,1 Isabel Baur,2 Gabriele Blettner,3 Ulrike Holtkamp,4 Markus Horneber,5 Patrick Jahn,6 Stefanie Joos,7 Silva Keberle,8 Anita Kettelgerdes,9 David Klemperer,10 Alfred Längler,11 Petra Voiß,12,13 Joachim Weis,14 Claudia M Witt1,15,16

1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany; 2Legal Institute, Competence Center Medicine - Ethics - Law Helvetiae, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; 3Deutsche Krebshilfe, INFONETZ KREBS, Bonn, Germany; 4German Leukemia & Lymphoma Patients‘ Association, Bonn, Germany; 5Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology and Hematology, Paracelsus Medical University, Klinikum Nuremberg, Nuremberg, Germany; 6Department for Nursing Science, Institute for Health Science, Medical Faculty, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; 7Institute for General Practice and Interprofessional Health Care, University Clinic Tübingen, Tübingen 72076, Germany; 8Eskamed AG, Basel, Switzerland; 9TK – Techniker Krankenkasse, Hamburg, Germany; 10Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg, Regensburg., Germany; 11Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Institute of Integrative Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, Herdecke, Germany; 12Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Evang. Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany; 13Gynaecological Clinic, Städtisches Klinikum Karlsruhe gGmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany; 14Department of Self-Help Research, Comprehensive Cancer Center University Clinic Freiburg, Freiburg i.Br., Germany; 15Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; 16Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland

Correspondence: Claudia M Witt
Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University Hospital Zurich and University Zurich, Sonneggstrasse 6, Zurich 8091, Switzerland

Purpose: Even in cases of positive evidence for complementary medicine (CM) therapies, it is still difficult for cancer patients to identify reputable providers. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a criteria list to provide guidance to cancer patients seeking a reputable CM provider.
Methods: The design combined a literature review, an expert consensus procedure (n=15) and an assessment from three stakeholder perspectives (patients (n=18), CM providers (n=26) and oncology physicians (n=20)).
Results: A total of 30 existing CM criteria were extracted from the literature, and 12 more were added by the experts. The main challenge was to define criteria that could easily be applied by the patients. A final comprehensive list of 8 criteria guiding cancer patients to find a reputable CM provider was developed.
Conclusion: Health professionals and cancer information services might find the criteria list helpful when aiming to strengthen patients’ awareness of quality-related factors associated with CM providers. The criteria developed might be helpful when standards are established for quality assurance in CM in oncology.

Keywords: neoplasms, complementary medicine, patient-centered care, standards, healthcare quality assurance

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