Background: We developed and disseminated an educational DVD to introduce U.S. Veterans to independently-practiced complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques and encourage CAM experimentation. The project's goal was to determine optimal dissemination methods to facilitate implementation within the Veteran's Health Administration. Methods: In the first phase, the DVD was disseminated using four methods: passive, provider-mediated, active, and peer-mediated. In the second, implementation phase, "champion" providers who supported CAM integrated dissemination into clinical practice. Qualitative data came from Veteran focus groups and semi-structured provider interviews. Data from both phases was triangulated to identify common themes. Results: Effective dissemination requires engaging patients. Providers who most successfully integrated the DVD into practice already had CAM knowledge, and worked in settings where CAM was accepted clinical practice, or with leadership or infrastructure that supported a culture of CAM use. Institutional buy-in allowed for provider networking and effective implementation of the tool. Providers were given autonomy to determine the most appropriate dissemination strategies, which increased enthusiasm and use. Conclusions: Many of the lessons learned from this project can be applied to dissemination of any new educational tool within a healthcare setting. Results reiterate the importance of utilizing best practices for introducing educational tools within the healthcare context and the need for thoughtful, multi-faceted dissemination strategies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Complementary and alternative medicine