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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 531096, 5 pages
Research Article

Building a Strategic Framework for Comparative Effectiveness Research in Complementary and Integrative Medicine

1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany
2Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
3Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
4Quintiles Outcome, Durham, NC, USA
5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
6Primary Care and Population Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
7Center for Health Economics and Science Policy, BioSource Corporation, Bethesda, MD, USA
8Department of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
9Marino Center for Integrative Health, Cambridge, MA, USA
10The Institute for Integrative Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
11Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
12Center for Medical Technology Policy, Baltimore, MD, USA

Received 9 November 2012; Accepted 10 December 2012

Academic Editor: Andreas Sandner-Kiesling

Copyright © 2012 Claudia M. Witt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The increasing burden of chronic diseases presents not only challenges to the knowledge and expertise of the professional medical community, but also highlights the need to improve the quality and relevance of clinical research in this domain. Many patients now turn to complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) to treat their chronic illnesses; however, there is very little evidence to guide their decision-making in usual care. The following research recommendations were derived from a CIM Stakeholder Symposium on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER): (1) CER studies should be made a priority in this field; (2) stakeholders should be engaged at every stage of the research; (3) CER study designs should highlight effectiveness over efficacy; (4) research questions should be well defined to enable the selection of an appropriate CER study design; (5) the CIM community should cultivate widely shared understandings, discourse, tools, and technologies to support the use and validity of CER methods; (6) Effectiveness Guidance Documents on methodological standards should be developed to shape future CER studies. CER is an emerging field and its development and impact must be reflected in future research strategies within CIM. This stakeholder symposium was a first step in providing systematic guidance for future CER in this field.