Perceptions of traditional Chinese medicine for chronic disease care and prevention: a cross-sectional study of Chinese hospital-based health care professionals

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Jul 6;18(1):209. doi: 10.1186/s12906-018-2273-y.


Background: In China, demands for disease prevention and health care and the prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases have increased. TCM and general hospitals are increasingly utilizing TCM strategies for chronic non-communicable disease care and prevention. This study aimed to investigate health care professionals' (HCPs') perceptions of TCM for prevention, their TCM knowledge, and their abilities to provide such services in TCM and general hospitals.

Methods: This cross-sectional study investigated Chinese medicine hospitals and Chinese medicine departments in general hospitals in five Chinese cities. A self-designed questionnaire used to study 400 HCPs focused on basic demographic data, the demand for and effects of TCM for prevention and treatment, and their perceptions of such service implementation. The data analysis included chi-squared tests and descriptive and multi-factor analyses.

Results: The 335 HCP respondents comprised 230 (68.7%) females and 105 (31.3%) males, 75.5% of whom overall had knowledge of TCM preventive and health care services. Respondents older than 40 years (28.6%) had greater knowledge of and satisfaction with TCM for preventive and health care services than younger respondents. Moreover, 97.7% of the older respondents were clearly willing to provide TCM preventive services for chronic diseases, 67.8% of whom indicated that their hospitals already provided TCM for prevention and treatment. According to the chi-squared test results, the TCM service characteristics in hospitals, hospital outlooks regarding TCM and TCM development in hospitals were the primary factors affecting the respondents' perceptions of TCM for chronic disease care and prevention. The multivariate analysis showed high satisfaction as significantly associated with older providers and those with lengthier work experience, particularly among those who worked in hospitals that provided typical TCM services and had positive attitudes towards TCM.

Conclusion: The study HCPs had relatively satisfactory knowledge of and positive attitudes towards TCM for chronic disease care and prevention and would use it in practice. Their perceptions and satisfaction levels correlated closely with the successful application of TCM for preventive care and treatment in hospitals. While the use of TCM for prevention and treatment was well developed in some hospitals, further improvements are warranted.

Keywords: Chinese medicine hospitals; Chronic disease care and prevention; Circumstance; Health care professionals; Perception; Traditional Chinese medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chronic Disease* / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease* / psychology
  • Chronic Disease* / therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel* / psychology
  • Health Personnel* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult