Comparative effectiveness research in complementary and integrative medicine - effectiveness guidance documents

Comparative effectiveness research in complementary and integrative medicine - effectiveness guidance documents


The majority of previous clinical trials have mainly assessed the efficacy of interventions and only little data is available on their effectiveness. The complexity and variety of clinical decisions that confront physicians and patients in real-world settings demand better evidence than is currently available. This evidence is urgently needed by policymakers, caregivers, families, health insurers and others who also make critical decisions about health care.
The Institute of Medicine in the US has defined CER as “the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care. The purpose of CER is to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions that will improve health care at both the individual and population levels.
The primary aim of this project is to develop strategies for CER as well as Effectiveness Guidance Documents (EGDs) for CAM therapies including both single and complex interventions to provide guidance for the steps, which have to be taken to plan future studies that can inform decision making in usual care. Secondary aim is to develop education materials on CER and to develop procedures of effective stakeholder involvement.
For EGD development we will use consensus procedures including surveys, consensus conferences and written Delphi rounds. The EGDs and teaching materials will be applied and tested.


Witt CM, Aickin M, Cherkin D, Tao Che T, Elder C, Flower A, Hammerschlag R, Liu JP, Lao L, Phurrough S, Ritenbaugh C, Rubin Hullender L, Schnyer R, Wayne PM, Rafferty Withers C, Zhao-Xiang B, Young J, Berman BM, and Collaborators. Effectiveness guidance document (EGD) for Chinese medicine trials: a consensus document. Trials. 2014;15:169.

Witt CM. Clinical research on traditional drugs and food items - the potential of comparative effectiveness research for interdisciplinary research. J of Ethnopharmacology 2013;147(1):254-258.

Witt CM, Aickin M, Baca T, Cherkin D, Haan MH, Hammerschlag R, Hao JJ, Kaplan GA, Lao L, McKay T, Pierce B, Riley D, Ritenbaugh C, Thorpe K, Tunis S, Weissberg J, Berman BM. Effectiveness guidance document (EGD) for acupuncture research - a consensus document for conducting trials. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012;12(1):148.

Witt CM, Chesney M, Gliklich R, Green L, Lewith G, Luce B, McCaffrey A, Rafferty Withers S, Sox HC, Tunis S, Berman BM. Building a strategic framework for comparative effectiveness research in complementary and integrative medicine. eCAM 2012;2012:531096.

Witt C. Huang W, Lao L, Berman B. Which research is needed to support clinical decision-making on integrative medicine? Can comparative effectiveness research close the gap? Chin J Integr Med 2012;18(10):723-729.

Witt CM, Treszl A, Wegscheider K. Comparative Effectiveness Research: Externer Validität auf der Spur. Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2011;108(46):A2468-2474


Principle investigator:
Witt, MD, MBA

Research associate:
Rafferty-Withers, PhD

Project duration:

Project status:

The Institute for Integrative Health