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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 178081, 5 pages
Research Article

Analysis of Agreement on Traditional Chinese Medical Diagnostics for Many Practitioners

1Department of TCM, Changhua Christian Hospital, 135 Nanxiao Street, Changhua City 500, Taiwan
2Graduate Institute of Statistics and Information Science, National Changhua University of Education, No. 1, Jin-De Road, Changhua City 500, Taiwan

Received 18 March 2011; Revised 29 April 2011; Accepted 2 May 2011

Academic Editor: Andreas Sandner-Kiesling

Copyright © 2012 Lun-Chien Lo 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 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnostics, it is an important issue to study the degree of agreement among several distinct practitioners. In order to study the reliability of TCM diagnostics, we have to design an experiment to simultaneously deal with both of the cases when the data is ordinal and when there are many TCM practitioners. In this study, we consider a reliability measure called “Krippendorff's alpha” to investigate the agreement of tongue diagnostics in TCM. Besides, since it is not easy to obtain a large data set with patients rated simultaneously by many TCM practitioners, we use the renowned “bootstrapping” to obtain a 95% confidence interval for the Krippendorff's alpha. The estimated Krippendorff's alpha for the agreement among ten physicians that discerned fifteen randomly chosen patients is 0.7343, and the 95% bootstrapping confidence interval for the true alpha coefficient is [0.6570, 0.7349]. The data was collected and analyzed at the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH) in Taiwan.