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Using the framework of corporate culture in “mergers” to support the development of a cultural basis for integrative medicine – guidance for building an integrative medicine department or service

Authors Witt C, Perard M, Berman B, Berman S, Birdsall T, Defren H, Kümmel S, Deng GE, Dobos G, Drexler A, Holmberg C, Horneber M, Jütte R, Knutson L, Kummer C, Volpers S, Schweiger D

Received 25 April 2014

Accepted for publication 25 July 2014

Published 19 January 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 113—120


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Claudia M Witt,1–3 Marion Pérard,2 Brian Berman,3,4 Susan Berman,4 Timothy C Birdsall,5 Horst Defren,6 Sherko Kümmel,7 Gary Deng,8 Gustav Dobos,9 Atje Drexler,10 Christine Holmberg,2 Markus Horneber,11 Robert Jütte,9 Lori Knutson,12 Christopher Kummer,13 Susanne Volpers,14 David Schweiger15

1University Hospital Zurich, Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Zurich, Switzerland; 2Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany; 3University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; 4The Institute for Integrative Health, Baltimore, USA; 5Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Goodyear, Arizona, USA, 6Kliniken Essen Mitte, Evang, Huyssen-Stiftung/Knappschaft GmbH Patientenmanagement, Essen, Germany; 7Department of Senology, Breast Center, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Evang. Huyssens Stiftung, Knappschaft GmbH, Essen, Germany; 8Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA; 9Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Academic Teaching Hospital of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; 10Robert Bosch Foundation GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany; 11Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology and Hematology, Paracelsus Medical University, Klinikum Nürnberg, Germany; 12Integrative Healthcare Solutions, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; 13Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA), Zurich, Switzerland; 14Frauenselbsthilfe nach Krebs, Bonn, Germany; 15Schweiger, Schweiger & Associates, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA

Background: An increasing number of clinics offer complementary or integrative medicine services; however, clear guidance about how complementary medicine could be successfully and efficiently integrated into conventional health care settings is still lacking. Combining conventional and complementary medicine into integrative medicine can be regarded as a kind of merger. In a merger, two or more organizations - usually companies - are combined into one in order to strengthen the companies financially and strategically. The corporate culture of both merger partners has an important influence on the integration.
Purpose: The aim of this project was to transfer the concept of corporate culture in mergers to the merging of two medical systems.
Methods: A two-step approach (literature analyses and expert consensus procedure) was used to develop practical guidance for the development of a cultural basis for integrative medicine, based on the framework of corporate culture in “mergers,” which could be used to build an integrative medicine department or integrative medicine service.
Results: Results include recommendations for general strategic dimensions (definition of the medical model, motivation for integration, clarification of the available resources, development of the integration team, and development of a communication strategy), and recommendations to overcome cultural differences (the clinic environment, the professional language, the professional image, and the implementation of evidence-based medicine).
Conclusion: The framework of mergers in corporate culture provides an understanding of the difficulties involved in integrative medicine projects. The specific recommendations provide a good basis for more efficient implementation.

Keywords: integrative medicine, mergers, corporate culture

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