In its report Development and implementation of evidence-based complementary healthcare, ZonMw notes that the use of complementary healthcare is a social fact.  But also that many practitioners, researchers and policy makers in healthcare have a knowledge gap with regard to the effectiveness and safety of complementary interventions.  The most important recommendation of the report is to disseminate reliable knowledge and generate new knowledge by drawing up a national research agenda in line with the American National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

ZonMw identifies various developments that confirm the necessity of this recommendation:

  • Health is approached more integrative than before;
  • There is great interest in the concept of positive health as postulated by Machteld Huber (Huber et al, 2011);
  • The demand from patients for complementary healthcare is increasing. Complementary healthcare is applied in 92% of hospitals (Busch et al 2015);
  • There are more and more healthcare and research initiatives in the field of integrative medicine and health (IMH) at home and abroad.

The WHO also calls on national governments to develop policies in this area because of the potential health benefits of integration (WHO 2013).

As a result of the report, ZonMw took the initiative in 2014 to the Steering Committee on “Implementation of evidence-based complementary healthcare”. Among other things, it advised to set up a Consortium for Complementary Care for shaping a knowledge infrastructure in this area.

With the appointment of a Consortium Complementary Care advisory committee as of 1 February 2016, ZonMw followed this advice and thus sought a constructive debate that contributes to the responsible positioning of complementary interventions in Dutch healthcare.

The Guidance Committee had two tasks: firstly to formulate an implementable architecture of the consortium and secondly to bring together potential partners for the consortium and to have the consortium established jointly.  So it happened.

The Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health was formally established in January 2018.