Dr. Holbrook said physicians can only be so aggressive about how they educate their patients. An overly aggressive approach “can be counterproductive.” To that end, Dr. Stewart talks with his patients about their desire to use treatments, their personal experience with such alternatives and the accumulation of research on a given topic, what he calls the “three-legged stool of evidence-based treatment.”
Explore This IssueOctober 2010
Dr. Stewart noted, however, that the discussion occurs more often with younger patients, a generational issue he attributes to the information age. Whereas patients 20 years ago would take a physician’s advice without question, technologically savvy patients now come to appointments armed with printouts from alternative medicine websites and WebMD.
“Everybody’s looking for that magic that will cure the common cold, make it pass faster and less severe,” Dr. Fong said. “That really doesn’t exist.”