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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 74-79

The importance of evidence for the integration of traditional and complementary medicine into Western healthcare?

Allied Health Sciences, School of Health & Social Care, London South Bank University, London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Nicola Robinson
Professor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Integrated Health, School of Health & Social Care, London South Bank University, London
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.15806/j.issn.2311-8571.2015.0029

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Policy makers should consider improving access to treatments normally considered outside of healthcare in the west, particularly given the recent WHO strategy. However, research on integrating traditional and complementary medicines (T&CM) into conventional health care is lacking. T& CM approaches, may provide a cost effective option given the increase in chronic diseases with evidence of effectiveness of T& CM being key if such approaches are to be offered as part of integrative patient care, in most countries, an integrated healthcare approach is unavailable to patients. Evidence based clinical guidelines on T& CM should influence care provision. However evidence that is available may not even be cited. Poor use of evidence may possibly be a reflection of lack of knowledge and/or biases of guideline developers but additionally stakeholders vary in their perceived need for evidence to implement health policy change. Journal editors should focus on publishing high quality manuscripts, with clear rationales, design and reporting frameworks. Researchers should consider carrying out careful feasibility studies prior to conducting trials taking into account the UK Medical Research Council’s framework on complex interventions. Examples of feasibility studies highlighting their importance for trial design are given in this paper. If preparation for more definitive studies is conducted this will in turn improve the quality of research being designed, executed and published and subsequently encourage the inclusion of evidence by guideline developers. Robust evidence is necessary in order to inform governments’ health policies providing appropriate T&CM interventions which can ultimately help to provide best patient care.

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