Increase in chronic conditions
In many respects Healthcare in the Netherlands is at the forefront. Life expectancy is increasing. However, there is also an increase in chronic diseases. Many people with chronic illnesses are faced with questions of meaning and an unmet need for healthcare. They look for new ways to improve their chronic burden, alleviate the side effects of regular treatments and improve the quality of their lives. They see complementary treatment methods as a possible solution. Just like in other European countries, every year millions of people in the Netherlands use self-medication products and complementary treatments in addition to regular treatments.
However, they, and their regular practitioners, often do not know where to turn for expert, substantiated and safe advice.
Complementary treatment methods
Because regular healthcare and complementary treatment methods are often located in separate worlds and patients fear a negative reaction from their practitioner, patients often do not share the use of complementary treatment methods with them.
Complementary treatment methods generally have few side effects. However, sometimes they can present a risk, such as with interactions between herbs and medication. Patients, healthcare providers and institutions need reliable knowledge and scientific research into (cost) effectiveness, safety and patient experiences in this area.
The members of the CIZG want to work on making existing knowledge better available and to initiate new scientific research. The CIZG wants to offer an infrastructure in which academic and non-academic institutions work together in the areas of healthcare, research, education and policy. From there, knowledge about integrated healthcare is developed, disseminated and carefully put into practice.
- Evidence-based medicine: choice for a therapy is based on scientific evidence of effectiveness and safety, the wishes and preferences of the patient and the expertise of the practitioner (Sacket et al, 2000)
- Ethical framework: if safe and effective then recommend, if safe and not proven effective then tolerate, if unsafe and effective then carefully monitor and if unsafe and ineffective then strongly discourage (Cohen, 2005)
- In addition to safety and effectiveness, applied therapies must have a mechanism of action that is consistent with current principles of science and medicine (“credibility”)
- The KNMG rules of conduct are leading
- Due diligence procedures concerning the use of complementary therapists must also apply:
- The complementary therapist is affiliated with the professional association of the therapeutic discipline that he or she represents.
- His professional association must have formally established a complaint and disciplinary procedure.
- The complementary therapist acts according to the code of conduct and the professional status of his or her professional association.
- The complementary therapist conforms to legal requirements regarding documentation and record keeping.
- The practice room must meet the requirements in the field of privacy and hygiene as is customary among BIG registered therapists (Individual Healthcare Professions Act)
- The complementary therapist must always advise the patient/client to (continue to) use proven effective regular treatments.
- There is regular low-threshold contact between the regular and complementary practitioners involved.
- There are agreements about PR and advertising about cooperation only after prior approval from consortium members. The cooperation is focused on healthcare innovation, research and in the interest of patients; not for commercial purposes.
- Prepare to participate in scientific research and agree to publication regardless of the outcome.
In this way, the CIZG strives for the best of both worlds, whereby a well-founded and nuanced middle ground is sought, based on scientific research. To guard against the extremes of “embracing with blind faith” and “an out of hand dogmatic rejection” of complementary treatments.