Despite most intake forms including a section for vitamin, supplements, and other therapies, many people keep complementary and alternative treatments from their primary care provider. Sometimes this is because of a lack of knowledge that a particular health behavior is an actual therapy, that it has the potential to interfere with conventional treatment, or that it should be reported. Providers neglecting to ask, lack of time to bring up the topic, and concern of provider disapproval or embarrassment over what they might think also contribute to underreporting. Although we are moving to a partnership model of healthcare, many of those in the "greatest," "boomer," and even "X" generations in the US are more comfortable with the paternalistic paradigm. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institute of Health, launched a program called "Time to Talk" for providers, patients, and organizations to foster communication and improve care coordination. The site provides a variety of material to help get the discussion started. I am especially impressed that it reassures providers they are not expected to be CAM experts and encourages them to refer patients to available evidence-based education materials rather than, as I have seen, run into their office to Google an herb or supplement to fein expertise.
Check out the program at Time To Talk
What People 50 and Older are Using and Discussing with Their Physicians