Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory

Persistent symptoms and therapeutic context

The research group ‘persistent symptoms and therapeutic context’ focuses on Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) in primary care and the efficacy of common factors and non-specific elements in the primary care consultation. Studying person-centered care, or personalized healthcare is at the core of the research group. Personal attention to patients, a continuing relationship and partnership with patients and mutual trust are crucial elements in healthcare. However, most research in specialty and primary care settings nowadays is focused on specific diseases and not on the core values of being a doctor; giving personalized health care to our patients. Therefore, the research group focuses research on the therapeutic benefits of the consultation itself, in which doctor-patient communication and doctor-patient relationship are at the core of our research expertise.

Name: Tim Olde Hartman
Telephone: 024-36 655378
Visiting address:

Department of Primary Care, route 120
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
Geert Grooteplein Noord 21
6525 EZ  Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Postal address: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
P.O. Box 9101, P.O. Box 117
6500 HB Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Key grants, awards and prizes

2017   ZonMw grant 'Sex and gender inequalities in medical trajectories of patients with common somatic symptoms' (K€ 500).

2017   ZonMw grant 'Cost-effectiveness of psychosomatic therapy in patients frequently attending with medically unexplained symptoms in primary care' (K€ 235).

2016   ZonMw grant 'lnternational Classification of Functioning in Primary Care (lCFPC) in elderly patients with chronic diseases: psychometric properties and the influence on health outcomes'  (K€ 250).

2014   ZonMw grant ‘Clinical Assessment of Therapy in managing Medically Unexplained Symptoms, the CATMUS trial’ (K€ 250).

Key publications
  1. Cost-effectiveness of interventions for medically unexplained symptoms: A systematic review. Wortman MSH, Lokkerbol J, van der Wouden JC, Visser B, van der Horst HE, Olde Hartman TC. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 15;13(10):e0205278. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205278. eCollection 2018. PMID:30321193
  2. The development of an ICF-based questionnaire for patients with chronic conditions in primary care. Postma SAE, van Boven K, Ten Napel H, Gerritsen DL, Assendelft WJJ, Schers H, Olde Hartman TC. J Clin Epidemiol. 2018 Nov;103:92-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2018.07.005. Epub 2018 Aug 10. PMID:30009942
  3. Quantifying positive communication: Doctor's language and patient anxiety in primary care consultations. Stortenbeker IA, Houwen J, Lucassen PLBJ, Stappers HW, Assendelft WJJ, van Dulmen S, Olde Hartman TC, Das E. Patient Educ Couns. 2018 Sep;101(9):1577-1584. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 1. PMID: 29751948
  4. Improving GP communication in consultations on medically unexplained symptoms: a qualitative interview study with patients in primary care. Houwen J, Lucassen PL, Stappers HW, Assendelft WJ, van Dulmen S, Olde Hartman TC. Br J Gen Pract. 2017 Oct;67(663):e716-e723. doi: 10.3399/bjgp17X692537. Epub 2017 Aug 28. PMID: 28847774
  5. Managing barriers to empathy in the clinical encounter: a qualitative interview study with GPs.Derksen FA, Olde Hartman TC, Bensing JM, Lagro-Janssen AL. Br J Gen Pract. 2016 Dec;66(653):e887-e895. Epub 2016 Oct 10. PMID: 27884917

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Theme 3:
Plasticity and Memory

Research Group

Associate Principal Investigator
Olde Hartman, T.C. (Tim), PhD

Group members

Scientific staff

Frans Derksen
Janneke Noordman

Esther Bakker
Juul Houwen
Ilona Plug
Simone Postma
Inge Stortenbeker
Margreet Wortman

Update NOV 18 EL