Quality Aspects of Complementary Medicine - Experiences from the Work of a Quality Circle of General Practitioners
Abstract: Objectives: This article reports the results of a quality circle work, carried out by physicians using complementary medicine. lt illustrates the problems occurring in this subject and summarizes characteristics of the daily work in relation to quality aspects. Patient characteristics were investigated; examples of mistakes in daily care are reported. Methods: The report is based on the two moderators' subjective impressions, on analysis of attendance lists, case reports, protocols, and surveys. Results: The quality circle was started in October 1994 and consists of a group of about 16 physicians, mainly general practitioners. Several objectives mentioned in official guidelines for quality circles could not be achieved, for example, the evaluation of results, analysis and assessment of the own performance according to established criteria, the degree to which published guidelines were followed, the development and implementation of problem-solving strategies. The quality circle was mainly a platform for exchange and continuing medical education. lt also was the basis for an empirical study. Conclusion: The continuing interest of patients in complementary medicine should motivate physicians to systematically evaluate these therapies. Participants of quality circles should prepare themselves extensively for the meetings. They should take measures to keep up-to-date with the current medical knowledge. Elements and objectives aiming at a higher quality standard can be examined and implemented in routine practice work. Research results should be integrated into the daily practice. Furthermore, academic or other independent institutions should carry out experimental research into traditional complementary therapies.