Patient-shared knowledge and information in clinical decision-making: an international survey of the perspectives and experiences of naturopathic practitioners

Amie Steele*, Sarah Brand, Matthew Leach, Iva Lloyd, Vicky Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Most knowledge translation models pay relatively little attention to patient-held knowledge and are largely based on the premise that researchers and clinicians hold all valuable knowledge, and patients are passive recipients of such knowledge. Counter to this clinician- and researcher-centred lens is a growing interest and awareness of patients as experts in their health. While naturopathic medicine is described and experienced as a patient-centred system of traditional medicine, the position of patient-held knowledge is unclear particularly when considered alongside their use of other more objective forms of knowledge such as research evidence.

    This international online cross-sectional survey aimed to explore naturopathic practitioners’ perceptions of the value and contribution of patient-shared knowledge and information within the context of naturopathic clinical consultations.

    The survey was completed by 453 naturopathic practitioners (response rate: 74.3%). Approximately two-thirds (68.2%) of respondents reported using information shared by the patient. Most rated ‘information provided by the patient’ as either ‘extremely important’ (60.7%) or ‘very important’ (31.4%) to patients. Highest levels of trust were reported for information provided by the patient (‘completely’: 9.9%; ‘a lot’: 53.6%). Most practitioners indicated they trusted knowledge and information derived from the patient’s personal health history ‘completely’(n=79; 21.8%) or ‘a lot’(n=226; 62.4%) from the patient’s perspective of living with a health condition (‘completely’[n=63, 17.4%]; ‘a lot’[n=224, 61.9%]). Patients were the highest ranked stakeholder group (mean: 1.5) perceived to influence NP use of patient experience of living with a health condition to inform clinical decision-making.

    Researchers and policy makers are increasingly focused on the value of the ‘expert patient’ in clinical decision-making, yet health professionals’ report challenges and, in some cases, resistance to meaningfully engaging with patient-shared knowledge in practice. However, our study has found patient-shared knowledge – inclusive of patient experience of their health condition – is among the knowledge used and trusted by naturopathic practitioners to inform their clinical decision-making. This study both offers insights into the knowledge translation behaviours of an under-researched health profession and provides a novel contribution to the wider aim of adopting patient shared knowledge into clinical care more generally.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number247
    Number of pages10
    JournalBMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023


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