‘The healthcare system is not designed around my needs’: how healthcare consumers self-integrate conventional and complementary healthcare services
Grace, S, Bradbury, J, Avila, C & Du Chesne, A 2018, ''The healthcare system is not designed around my needs': how healthcare consumers self-integrate conventional and complementary healthcare services', Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 32, pp. 151-156.
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Objective: To explore healthcare consumers' experiences of healthcare service integration.
Methods: This phenomenological study comprised three focus groups of 13 participants who were purposively invited to span three broad generations: young adults, middle-aged adults and seniors. Transcripts of focus group recordings were analysed thematically.
Results: Key themes were that: (i) healthcare consumers manage their own healthcare, (ii) healthcare consumers value open, non-judgmental communication with healthcare providers, and (iii) healthcare consumers want flexibility in healthcare services.
Conclusions: Healthcare consumers integrated their own healthcare, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and conventional medicine, by researching practitioners and services and by engaging in service and product rating strategies. They moulded available health services around their needs. Without the support of healthcare providers, healthcare integration, knowledge exchange and risk management are limited. A system of healthcare integration that omits CAM fails to meet community needs, policy aims for greater efficiency, and duty of care to healthcare consumers.