Challenges of Systematic Reviewing Integrative Health Care

Published In: Integrative Medicine Insights, v. 8, 2013, p. 19-28

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Ian D. Coulter, Raheleh Khorsan, Cindy C. Crawford, An-Fu Hsiao

Read More

Access further information on this document at Libertas Academica Ltd

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This article is based on an extensive review of integrative medicine (IM) and integrative health care (IHC). Since there is no general agreement of what constitutes IM/IHC, several major problems were identified that make the review of work in this field problematic. In applying the systematic review methodology, we found that many of those captured articles that used the term integrative medicine were in actuality referring to adjunctive, complementary, or supplemental medicine. The objective of this study was to apply a sensitivity analysis to demonstrate how the results of a systematic review of IM and IHC will differ according to what inclusion criteria is used based on the definition of IM/IHC. By analyzing 4 different scenarios, the authors show that, due to unclear usage of these terms, results vary dramatically, exposing an inconsistent literature base for this field.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.