Objectives: The aims of this article are to evaluate case report publications on naturopathic medicine and to suggest improvement in the content of these case reports to ensure that they appropriately capture the philosophical underpinnings of this type of medicine.
Methods: Articles were obtained by a National Library of Medicine query on “naturopathic” and “case report” in September 2015, and results were evaluated according to the CARE guidelines. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of the rating scores was calculated.
Results: Nearly half of the case reports were about clinical adverse events. Though it is essential that adverse events be reported, it is imperative that successful cases are also reported to fully understand the impact of naturopathic medicine. The ICC (using single-measure absolute agreement) of the 18 selected articles was 0.669. Question-based improvement checks for writing naturopathic cases are proposed to capture some of the most important tenets of naturopathic medicine, including social and environmental determinants of health and the focus on an individualized treatment approach.
Discussion: Evaluation of currently published naturopathic cases revealed both successful cases and cases involving adverse events. The reliability of rating by three naturopathic clinicians using the CARE guidelines was sufficiently high to confirm that the CARE guidelines are a valid instrument; however, to increase their utility as an educational tool for use in actual cases, additional information that is not part of the CARE guidelines can be included to more adequately describe naturopathic clinical case reports as a part of whole-systems research.
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