Article Abstract

Factors affecting decision-making of patients choosing acupuncture in a public hospital

Authors: Andrew Arjun Sayampanathan, Thean Howe Bryan Koh, Keng He Kong, Yin Peng Low


Background: With increasing evidence to support its practice, acupuncture has been integrated within many hospitals around the world. The purpose of this study is to understand the factors affecting decision making of patients as they select acupuncture treatment for their medical conditions and symptoms within a public hospital.
Methods: A qualitative study consisting of in depth interviews with 14 patients was conducted. All patients attended an acupuncture clinic within a public hospital. Data collected was analysed via thematic analysis.
Results: Four main factor groups affecting decision making of patients were identified- factors affecting the level and value of patient-centric care, the confidence and trust patients place within the acupuncture service, the presence of collaborative efforts between acupuncturists and Western medicine practitioners, and the knowledge, culture and belief society has regarding the role of acupuncture and Western medicine. All participants interviewed had more than one factor group present as enablers toward their eventual selection of acupuncture for ailment management. It was also noted that although the majority of participants had sufficient knowledge regarding acupuncture, there were a select few who had misperceptions or no knowledge regarding certain aspects of acupuncture.
Conclusions: There may be certain patterns in the way patients choose to utilise acupuncture services in public hospitals. Further studies should also be carried out in other public hospitals to analyse the factor groups identified further.