The Future of Healthcare20 years, 3 months ago
Posted on Nov 07, 2003, 12 p.m.
By Bill Freeman
Future Healthcare Trends andthe Growth of Complementary and Alternative Therapies Research confirms the growing popularity and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. today. But how will future healthcare trends affect the growth of CAM therapies. If the past is any indication, the use of CAM therapies is likely to continue to grow in public acceptance as the U.
Future Healthcare Trends and
the Growth of Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Research confirms the growing popularity and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. today. But how will future healthcare trends affect the growth of CAM therapies?
If the past is any indication, the use of CAM therapies is likely to continue to grow in public acceptance as the U.S. healthcare system evolves. What began as a passing fad in the 1960s has today crossed decades, genders, and ethnicities. Timing has had a significant impact on the evolution and social acceptance of particular CAM therapies. In the 1960s, the self-help generation flocked to commercial diet programs and megavitamin therapy. The 1970s ushered in an era of biofeedback, energy healing, and herbal medicine, while in the 1980s and 1990s, massage, naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and yoga joined the growing list of CAM therapies.
Today, national surveys estimate that in a given year, 40% of all Americans incorporate some type of CAM therapy into their healthcare routine. Government health agencies and the conventional medical community now recognize the scientific validity of CAM therapies. And the popularity of CAM continues to grow. In fact, in 1977, surveys showed that more one third of the American population was currently using some form of CAM therapy. In 2001, subsequent analyses of lifetime use demonstrated that 67% of those originally surveyed in 1977 reported continual use of at least one CAM therapy.
While it is often difficult to project long-term trends, past utilization of CAM therapies forecast a promising future. Today, CAM has proven to be neither a short-lived social phenomenon nor a radical replacement of conventional medicine. More and more, mainstream medical journals, academic medical centers, and leading scientists are working to provide reliable clinical information supporting CAM therapies, and this, along with growing public demand, will ultimately determine the future of CAM.
Mitka M. Alternative medicine no fad. JAMA 2001;286(2):1443.
Barrett B. Complementary and alternative medicine: what's it all about? WMJ 2001;100(7):20-26.
Kessler RC, Davis RB, Foster DF, et al. Long-term trends in the use of complementary and alternative medical therapies in the United States. Ann Intern Med 2001;135(4):262-68.