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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 465471, 7 pages
Research Article

Interobserver Reliability of Four Diagnostic Methods Using Traditional Korean Medicine for Stroke Patients

1Medical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 1672 Yuseongdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea
2Norwegian School of Health Sciences, Institute of Acupuncture, Kristiania University College, Prinsensgate 7-9, 0152 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), Tromsø, Norway

Received 12 August 2014; Accepted 9 September 2014; Published 9 December 2014

Academic Editor: Keji Chen

Copyright © 2014 Ju Ah Lee 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.


Objective. The aim of this study is to evaluate the consistency of pattern identification (PI), a set of diagnostic indicators used by traditional Korean medicine (TKM) clinicians. Methods. A total of 168 stroke patients who were admitted into oriental medical university hospitals from June 2012 through January 2013 were included in the study. Using the PI indicators, each patient was independently diagnosed by two experts from the same department. Interobserver consistency was assessed by simple percentage agreement as well as by kappa and AC1 statistics. Results. Interobserver agreement on the PI indicators (for all patients) was generally high: pulse diagnosis signs (–0.89); inspection signs (–0.95); listening/smelling signs (–0.88); and inquiry signs (–0.94). Conclusion. In four examinations, there was moderate agreement between the clinicians on the PI indicators. To improve clinician consistency (e.g., in the diagnostic criteria used), it is necessary to analyze the reasons for inconsistency and to improve clinician training.