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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 4735234, 11 pages
Research Article

Patient’s Decision to Disclose the Use of Traditional and Complementary Medicine to Medical Doctor: A Descriptive Phenomenology Study

Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia

Correspondence should be addressed to Whye Lian Cheah; ym.saminu@haehclw

Received 13 November 2017; Revised 10 January 2018; Accepted 21 January 2018; Published 14 February 2018

Academic Editor: Jenny M. Wilkinson

Copyright © 2018 Johny Anak Kelak 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.


Nondisclosure of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) use may cause individual to be at risk of undue harm. This study aimed to explore patient’s experience and views on their decision to disclose the use of T&CM to the doctor. An exploratory qualitative study using in-depth interview involving 10 primary care clinics attendees in Kuching was conducted. The results indicated that disclosure of T&CM use will motivate them to get information, increase doctor’s awareness, and get support from family and friends for disclosure. Fear of negative relationship and negative response from doctors was a barrier for disclosure. Doctor’s interpersonal and communication skills of being involved, treating patients respectfully, listening attentively, respecting privacy, and taking time for the patient were a critical component for disclosure. Intrapersonal trust regarding doctor influences their satisfaction on healthcare. Women are more open and receptive to a health concern and expressing negative emotions and tend to share problems, whereas men always described themselves as healthy, tended to keep their own personal feeling to themselves, and tended to not share. The doctor should consider gender differences in disclosure, their attitude towards T&CM use, and gained patient’s trust in the delivery of healthcare services. Good interpersonal and communication skills must be maintained between doctor and patients.