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Integrative health care (IHC) is an innovative approach to health care delivery. There is increasing focus on and demand for the evaluation of IHC practices. To ensure such evaluations capture their full scope, a clear understanding of the types of outcomes relevant to an IHC approach is needed. The objective was to describe the health domains and health outcomes relevant to IHC practices in Canada.
An online survey of Canadian IHC clinics. Survey questions were informed by the IN-CAM Health Outcomes Database. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data. Chi square tests were used to compare responses between clinic types and patient groups served.
Surveys were completed by 21 clinics (response rate: 50%). Physical, psychological, social, individualized and holistic were identified as applicable health domains by more than 90% of the clinics. Spiritual domain was the least relevant (70% of clinics). A number of relevant outcomes within each domain were identified. A core set of outcomes were identified and included: fatigue, anxiety, stress, and patient-provider relationship, and quality of life. Clinics with primarily conventional health practitioners were less likely to address overall well-being (p = 0.04), while clinics that provided care to a specialized patient population (i.e. cancer patients) or a mix of general and specialized patients were less likely to address religious practices (p = 0.04) or spiritual experiences (p = 0.007).
Outcomes across health domains should be considered in the evaluation of IHC models to generate an understanding of the full scope of effectiveness of IHC approaches. The core set of outcomes identified may facilitate this task.
Ethics approval (Ethics ID REB14-0495) was received from the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board at the University of Calgary.