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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 316950, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/316950
Research Article

Corporate Culture Assessments in Integrative Oncology: A Qualitative Case Study of Two Integrative Oncology Centers

1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Luisenstraße 57, 10117 Berlin, Germany
2Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 520 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

Received 9 April 2013; Accepted 19 May 2013

Academic Editor: Holger Cramer

Copyright © 2013 Nadine Mittring 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.

Abstract

The offer of “integrative oncology” is one option for clinics to provide safe and evidence-based complementary medicine treatments to cancer patients. As known from merger theories, corporate culture and integration models have a strong influence on the success of such integration. To identify relevant corporate culture aspects that might influence the success in two highly visible integrative oncology clinics, we interviewed physicians, nurses, practitioners, and managers. All interviews (11 in a German breast cancer clinic and 9 in an integrative medicine cancer service in the USA) were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed with content analysis. According to the theoretical framework of mergers, each clinic selected a different integration type (“best of both worlds” and “linking”). Nonetheless, each developed a similar corporate culture that has a strong focus on research and safe and evidence-based treatments, and fosters a holistic and patient-centered approach. Structured communication within the team and with other departments had high relevance. Research was highlighted as a way to open doors and to facilitate a more general acceptance within the hospital. Conventional physicians felt unburdened by the provision of integrative medicine service but also saw problems in the time required for scheduled treatments, which often resulted in long waiting lists.