Setting a Dutch Integrative Medicine research agenda: results of a consensus-based strategy

Herman van Wietmarschen, Annemarie Kapteijns, M Busch, I. von Rosenstiel, Rogier Hoenders, Erik W. Baars. 2024. Setting a Dutch Integrative Medicine research agenda: results of a consensus-based strategy. European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 6 March.
Taal/language: Engels
Abstract / summary in English:


The WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014–2023 emphasises the significance of traditional medicine systems for preventing and treating diseases, worldwide. As a result, many countries have developed national research programmes and research institutes dealing with traditional, complementary and integrative Medicine (TCIM) (WHO Global Report on Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Geneva, 2019) or integrative medicine. Despite considerable public interest in IM in the Netherlands, no Dutch programme or research institute has been established, yet. In 2018, a consortium for integrative care and health was founded and developed a national research agenda with research priorities for the Netherlands.


The consensus-based strategy for developing the research agenda involved: (1) conducting a literature review, (2) organising an online consensus meeting with a select group of integrative medicine (IM) experts, (3) conducting a survey among IM stakeholders, and (4) organising a second consensus meeting with the same group of IM experts to discuss the survey results and further refine the research agenda. Snowball sampling was used to recruit IM stakeholders, starting from a list of those interested in or connected to IM.


Ninety-two stakeholders completed the survey. The most promising research areas were oncology, pain management and palliative care. Respondents awarded the highest priority to research on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety of IM interventions. Directions for research included mind–body interventions, biological interventions and whole medical systems. Moreover, respondents strongly recommended developing reliable patient information tools. Facilitators for IM implementation are an increasing attention for prevention, the rising incidence of chronic diseases and the shift from disease-focused to health-focused approaches. The identified barriers included a lack of knowledge about IM, the absence of health insurance reimbursement for Complementary Medicine, and governance structures of healthcare organisations.


A first Dutch IM research agenda was developed based on consensus among Dutch healthcare professionals, along with input from a smaller group of patients and researchers. This agenda provides clear research directions and distinguished both positive developments and barriers for IM in the Netherlands.


Keywords in English: Integrative Medicine, zorg, gezondheid, geneeskunde, onderzoeksagenda, kosten-effectiviteit, healthcare