Alternative Medicine Becoming More Popular at Hospitals

October 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

As someone who struggles with chronic pain and fibromyalgia, I’ve tried a lot of different treatments to bring me some relief. From spinal injections to prescriptions of Vicodin, from physical therapy to numbing spray, I’ve tried more remedies than I can recall. When the standard doctor recommendations didn’t work, I tried to acupuncture, massage, a vegetarian diet and herbal supplements. Apparently I am not alone in dabbling in the alternative medicine industry.

The world of medicine is always evolving and students in an online RN to BSN degree program need to be up on the latest news. There was a new survey published that reporter Kevin B. O’Reilly examines on “Forty-two percent of the 714 hospitals surveyed said they provide unconventional therapies, and executives listed patient demand as the top criterion in choosing which therapies to offer, according to a report released in September by the American Hospital Assn.’s Health Forum and the Samueli Institute, a think tank that supports alternative medicine. In 2000, just 14% of hospitals told AHA researchers that they provided complementary therapies,” remarks O’Reilly.

“Nearly two-thirds of hospitals offering alternative services provide massages on an outpatient basis, and half offer pet therapy in the hospital. About 40% of these hospitals offer acupuncture or music and art therapies, said the report, based on a survey conducted in March 2010,” O’Reilly explains.
Is medicine really mind over matter? I find this to be a very grey area. This one statistic really intrigued me: “Though 70% of executives at hospitals providing unconventional therapies said they are doing so because they are clinically effective, only 42% said they use patients’ health outcomes to gauge the success of the alternative medicine programs. Instead, they are principally using patient satisfaction and volume as evaluation metrics, the report said.”

Patient satisfaction rates higher than health outcomes? Well, I guess a patient would be satisfied if their health outcome was better than when they started, yet where are the scientific stats and charts that we’ve come to know and love in medical studies? I’m not against alternative medicine and I do think we pop pills to easily, but I’m not sure warm fuzzies and thinking happy thoughts is the equivalent to practical medical care.

In an RN to BSN bridge program I’m sure you’re learning all about catheters, wound care and some jumbled Latin, but there are new treatments and trends at every corner.

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