Objective: Healthcare practitioners (HCPs) experience barriers to changing routine consultation practice. Communication and recording of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines (TCAM) is inadequate. This pilot study explored the challenges of implementing a computerized template in primary care to facilitate communication on TCAM for paediatric eczema.
Methods: A computerized template to record TCAM use, with links to evidence-based TCAM databases, was designed, based on qualitative research with patients and HCPs. Four London general practices implemented the template integrated with usual practice. Twelve focus groups during the 6 month study period explored HCPs' knowledge, communication and information sources regarding TCAM and perceived barriers to template implementation.
Results: HCPs were initially enthusiastic about discussing TCAM, for improving communication and understanding patient's choices, but the template was used in under a third of consultations. HCPs were surprised at low TCAM use (10%) and lack of correlation with eczema or ethnicity. Reported barriers were time and remembering, due to busy, target-driven practice.
Conclusion: HCPs recognize the importance of discussing TCAM use for childhood eczema, and potential benefits for HCP-patient communication.
Practice implications: Future tools to facilitate TCAM discussion should prioritise use of existing IT systems and address barriers to use, especially lack of time.
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