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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 149512, 11 pages
Research Article

Developing Policy for Integrating Biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medical Practice Using Focus Groups and the Delphi Technique

School of Public Health and Primary Care, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

Received 19 December 2011; Revised 28 February 2012; Accepted 1 March 2012

Academic Editor: Wolfgang Weidenhammer

Copyright © 2012 Vincent C. H. Chung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In Hong Kong, statutory regulation for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners has been implemented in the past decade. Increasing use of TCM on top of biomedicine (BM) services by the population has been followed; but corresponding policy development to integrate their practices has not yet been discussed. Using focus group methodology, we explore policy ideas for integration by collating views from frontline BM ( ) and TCM clinicians ( ). Qualitative data were analyzed under the guidance of structuration model of collaboration, a theoretical model for understanding interprofessional collaboration. From focus group findings we generated 28 possible approaches, and subsequently their acceptability was assessed by a two round Delphi survey amongst BM and TCM policy stakeholders ( ). Consensus was reached only on 13 statements. Stakeholders agreed that clinicians from both paradigms should share common goals of providing patient-centered care, promoting the development of protocols for shared care and information exchange, as well as strengthening interprofessional connectivity and leadership for integration. On the other hand, attitudes amongst policy stakeholders were split on the possibility of fostering trust and mutual learning, as well as on enhancing innovation and governmental support. Future policy initiatives should focus on these controversial areas.