Examining utilization of a natural medicine web-based tool among non-primary care physicians, academic faculty, and nurses at one institution

Kelly Dowhower Karpa, Sue Boehmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Consumer use of herbal and natural products (H/NP) is increasing, yet physicians may be unprepared to provide guidance because of lack of educational training. This knowledge deficit may place consumers at risk of adverse effects. We had previously evaluated the impact of a natural medicine Web-based resource on primary care providers at our institution. Objectives: To ascertain the value of an H/NP Web-based resource to non- primary care physicians, academic faculty, and nurses practicing within a hospital setting. Methods: Non-primary care physicians, academic faculty, and nurses at our medical center were invited to complete an electronic survey 1 year after access to an H/NP clinical decision tool had been obtained. Results: Survey responses were obtained from 226 of 2720 (8%) individuals invited to participate. Overall, respondents indicated a relatively low comfort level (mean 3.5 [2.28] [SD] on a 10-point scale) in discussing H/NP prior to introduction of the electronic H/NP resource. Following a year-long trial subscription to an evidence-based H/NP electronic resource, 29% of physician and nurse survey respondents (60 of 207) reported use of the tool. These individuals ranked their comfort level with H/NP discussions at a 6.96 [1.76] on a 10-point scale. Seventy-six percent of physicians (16 of 21) and 72% of nurses (28 of 39) who had used the tool indicated that because of the resource, they were more likely to ask patients about H/NP use when taking a drug history; 44% (23 of 52) had been able to intervene when a patient was using an H/NP deemed to be unsafe. Conclusions: Our results suggest that an evidence-based H/NP resource boosts physician and nursing comfort in discussing H/NP with patients and enables interventions to be made. Such H/NP clinical decision tools have potential to improve patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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