Poster Presentation Joint 2016 COSA and ANZBCTG Annual Scientific Meeting


Eun Jin Lim 1 , Haryana Dhillon 2 , Byeongsang Oh 3 , Janette Vardy 4
  1. The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia
  2. CeMPED, School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. Northern Clinical School, Royal North Shore Hospital, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  4. Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Hospital, Concord, NSW, Australia


There is substantial interest in integrative oncology care to improve the health and wellbeing of cancer patients in Australia, but limited evidence to guide service development. Here we describe and contrast integrative care centres in Australia, U.S.A., and Germany to inform development of an Australian model of integrative oncology care.



We conducted a mixed method study including a 28-item survey and semi-structured interviews in 16 centres providing integrative care in Australia (10), U.S.A. (3), and Germany (3). A coding schema based on survey responses and interviews was developed and used to compare and contrast services within and between countries.



Common elements across countries identified included ongoing academic activities for medical staff and patients, and importance of open collaboration and communication. German and U.S.A centres had a General Practitioner (GP) or Integrative Physician (IP) as gatekeeper, whereas Australian centres were coordinated by allied health practitioners (AHPs). Major differences were:

  1. Perception of IM: Australia and USA perceive IM as adjunctive, while in Germany it is parallel with western medicine. Australian centres support patient self-management through empowerment and value social interactions between patients, and patients and practitioners;
  2. Treatment options: Australian focuses supportive care, USA body-mind, and German traditional healing therapies.
  3. Team interaction: USA and German had strong focus on structured and Australian informal interactions.

Australian centres defined IM as supportive care and patient-centred care, evident in acceptance of patient self-referral.  Whereas in Germany and USA GP/IP were required to approve patient access to IM services.



IM models of care differ between the countries examined.  The Australian emphasis on patient-centred care is a key point of difference and is driven by a pragmatic approach to service development in response to patient needs. All centres emphasised the need for open communication and collaboration.