Integrative health care - toward a common understanding: a mixed method study

Matthew J. Leach, Marlene Wiese, Manisha Thakkar, Tamara Agnew

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective To generate a multidisciplinary stakeholder-informed definition of integrative health care (IHC). Methods A mixed-method study design was used, employing the use of focus groups/semi-structured interviews (phase-1) and document analysis (phases 2 and 3). Phase-1 recruited a purposive sample of Australian health consumers/health providers. Phase-2 interrogated websites of international IHC organisations for definitions of IHC. Phase-3 systematically searched bibliographic databases for articles defining IHC. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Data were drawn from 54 health consumers/providers (phase-1), 23 IHC organisation webpages (phase-2) and 23 eligible articles (phase-3). Seven themes emerged from the data. Consensus was reached on a single, 65-word definition of IHC. Conclusion An unambiguous definition of IHC is critical to establishing a clearer identity for IHC, as well as providing greater clarity for consumers, health providers and policy makers. In recognising the need for a clearer description, we propose a scientifically-grounded, multi-disciplinary stakeholder-informed definition of IHC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)50-57
    Number of pages8
    JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
    Early online date6 Dec 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


    • integrated healthcare
    • Integrative medicine
    • mixed methods
    • Integrative health care
    • Definition
    • Integrated health care
    • Mixed-method


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