The IMCO scheme as a tool in developing team-based treatment for people with multiple sclerosis

J Altern Complement Med. Jan-Feb 2008;14(1):69-77. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0593.


Background: The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society (a patient organization) has initiated a research-based bridge-building and integrative treatment project to take place from 2004 to 2010 at a specialized MS hospital. The background for initiating the project was an increasing use of alternative treatment documented among persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). From PwMS there has been an increasing demand upon The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society to initiate the project.

Objective: The overall purpose of the project is to examine whether collaboration between 5 conventional and 5 alternative practitioners may optimize treatment results for people who have multiple sclerosis (MS). The specific aim of this paper is to present tools used in developing collaboration between the conventional and alternative practitioners.

Materials and methods: Two main tools in developing collaboration between the practitioners are described: (1) the planning and conduction of 4 practitioner-researcher seminars in the prephase of the project before recruiting patients with MS; and (2) the IMCO scheme (which is an abbreviation of Intervention, Mechanism, Context, and Outcomes). This tool was developed and used at practitioner-researcher seminars to make visible the different practitioners' treatment models and the patient-related treatment courses.

Results: Examples of IMCO schemes filled in by the medical doctor and the classical homeopath illustrate significant differences in interventions, assumptions concerning effect mechanisms, and awareness of contexts facilitating and inhibiting the intervention to generate the outcomes expected and obtained.

Conclusions: The IMCO schemes have been an important tool in developing the team-based treatment approaches and to facilitate self-reflection on the professional role as a health care provider. We assume that the IMCO scheme will be of real value in the development of effective treatment based on collaboration between conventional and alternative practitioners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Complementary Therapies / organization & administration*
  • Complementary Therapies / standards
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Denmark
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Family Practice / standards
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hospitals, Chronic Disease / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Chronic Disease / standards
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Program Evaluation