Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 723–729 | Cite as

Which research is needed to support clinical decision-making on integrative medicine?—Can comparative effectiveness research close the gap?

  • Claudia M. Witt
  • Wen-jing Huang (黄文静)
  • Lixing Lao
  • Berman Bm
Feature Article


In clinical research on complementary and integrative medicine, experts and scientists have often pursued a research agenda in spite of an incomplete understanding of the needs of end users. Consequently, the majority of previous clinical trials have mainly assessed the efficacy of interventions. Scant data is available on their effectiveness. Comparative effectiveness research (CER) promises to support decision makers by generating evidence that compares the benefits and harms of the best care options. This evidence, more generalizable than the evidence generated by traditional randomized controlled trials (RCTs), is better suited to inform real-world care decisions. An emphasis on CER supports the development of the evidence base for clinical and policy decision-making. Whereas in most areas of complementary and integrative medicine data on comparative effectiveness is scarce, available acupuncture research already contributes to CER evidence. This paper will introduce CER and make suggestions for future research.


comparative effectiveness research decision making integrative medicine Chinese medicine acupuncture 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia M. Witt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen-jing Huang (黄文静)
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lixing Lao
    • 2
  • Berman Bm
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Epidemiology and Health EconomicsCharité University Medical Center, Institute for Social MedicineBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Center for Integrative MedicineUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese MedicineChengduChina
  4. 4.The Institute for Integrative HealthBaltimoreUSA

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