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J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Nov;20(11):874-80. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0073. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

What can comparative effectiveness research contribute to integrative health in international perspective?

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  • 11 Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University Hospital Zurich , Zurich, Switzerland .


The interest in Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) in the international community is growing. A panel titled "What Can Comparative Effectiveness Research Contribute to Integrative Health in International Perspective?" took place at the 3rd International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health in Portland, Oregon, in 2012. The presentations at this panel highlighted different perspectives on CER, including the funders' and the stakeholders' perspectives from the United States, as well as experiences with economic evaluations from Australia and pragmatic trials in Europe. The funders' perspective emphasized the need for innovation and controlling costs in large-scale studies. The stakeholder's perspective stressed the need to gather the input of stakeholders in shaping the framework for more informative, more decision-maker-driven research. Several examples of cost-effectiveness analyses were offered from Australia. The importance of balancing rigor and pragmatism was also discussed in a presentation of the efficacy-effectiveness continuum. A wide-ranging discussion explored additional questions concerning the translation of evidence into practice; the effect of pragmatic trials on funding or policy; evidentiary distinctions between and among pragmatic trials and traditional randomized clinical trials; and the multiple roles of stakeholders, particularly in generating new information and knowledge. The presentations and discussions showed that more development of methods is needed. This includes developments on study design and statistical approaches, as well as methods for stakeholder involvement and mechanisms to bring these results into practice.

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