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Integrative Medicine in practice

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People with chronic joint problems often make use of both regular and complementary therapies. The aim of the project 'Integrative medicine in practice' (2011-2015) is to elucidate the needs and experiences of joint patients using these two forms of care, and to develop an integrative care approach.

Achieving health gains primary goal

Chronic joint diseases are a widespread problem. As regular treatments are often not effective enough, many joint disease patients turn to complementary care. Integrative care, which combines practices and methods of regular and complementary medicine, is expected to contribute to health gains for these patients. The aim of our project is to develop an integrative care approach that allows patients to choose, in close consultation with their general practitioner (GP), the treatment that best fits their needs. This treatment can be regular or complementary or both, as long as it meets the criteria of safety, quality and efficacy.

First research results published

The first results of our study show that 86% of patients with joint problems already make use of complementary therapies. The majority of these patients would like their GP to take a more integrative approach, so they can have 'the best of two worlds'. A scientific paper on these results was published in the journal Patient, Education and Counseling in October 2012.

Follow-up study

Together with patients, GPs and therapists, a follow-up study was conducted to develop a collaboration model for providers of regular and complementary health care: the Shared Care model for Integrative Medicine. This model was tested in practice during 2013-2015. Results of this study were presented at the final project meeting in the autumn of 2015, and be published in three scientific journal articles in 2016. Read the summary (in Dutch) and the press release (in Dutch) of the most important conclusions and recommendations re. the Shared Care model. 

National approach

The project 'Integrative medicine in practice' is funded by a grant from the PGO Fund of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. It is carried out by representatives of the Dutch patient forum for complementary care, the Van Praag Institute, healthcare organisation Zorgbelang Groningen, and the Louis Bolk Institute. The project team works closely together with NIKIM (National Information and Knowledge Centre for Integrative Medicine) and health insurance company Menzis.

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