Even as U.S. consumers continue to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including massage, chiropractic, herbs, meditation and yoga, for health care, their physicians are sometimes not fully knowledgeable about such therapies.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) launched a new web portal this week, with the purpose of providing health care providers with evidence-based information on CAM.

According to a NCCAM press release, “Americans annually spend nearly $34 billion out-of-pocket on CAM products and practices. Surveys show that nearly 40 percent of American adults and 12 percent of American children use some form of CAM. Other surveys show that patients do not regularly discuss these practices with their health care providers. In fact, a recent study of Americans aged 50 and older found that overall two-thirds of respondents had not discussed CAM with their health care provider.”

According to NCCAM, with this new resource, providers will have the tools necessary to learn about CAM practices and products “and be better able to discuss the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine with their patients.”

The portal features evidenced-based information on CAM, including:

• links to relevant clinical practice guidelines

• safety and effectiveness information

• links to systematic reviews

• summaries of research studies

• scientific literature searches

• programs for continuing education credit

• patient fact sheets

• NCCAM’s Time to Talk tool kit on communicating about CAM.

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