Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the use of the most current, best evidence in making decisions regarding the treatment of specific patients.
EBM combines the best available research data with clinical experience, patient values, and other factors. The objective of this movement is to employ high-quality clinical research more frequently when making healthcare decisions. EBM demands the clinician to develop new abilities, such as effective literature searches and the use of explicit criteria of evidence when assessing the clinical literature.
The main distinction between evidence-based medicine (EBM) and conventional medicine is that the former considers the available research while the latter does not. Both consider the evidence, but EBM calls for more substantial evidence than has often been employed. The development of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, techniques by which researchers locate numerous studies on a subject, sort out the best ones, and then critically evaluate them to produce a summary of the best available evidence, is one of the greatest achievements of evidence-based medicine.
EBM-Oriented clinicians have to do three main tasks
- To use evidence summaries in clinical practice
- To help develop and update selected systematic reviews or evidence-based guidelines in their area of expertise; and
- To enroll patients in studies of treatment, diagnosis, and prognosis that serve as the foundation for medical practice.
Finally, when practicing evidence-based medicine, doctors must consider the patient’s values and preferences when interpreting all the data. Some of the potential solutions might not align with the patient’s values or interests. Even if there is substantial evidence favoring a particular treatment, the patient’s preferences can prevent the clinician from recommending it. The treatment may not be appropriate for the particular patient, as well.
- Masic, I., Miokovic, M. and Muhamedagic, B. (2008) “Evidence-based medicine – new approaches and challenges,” Acta Informatica Medica, 16(4), p. 219. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5455/aim.2008.16.219-225.
- Terkelsen AS, Carlsen A-MF, Larsen CM, Bruun P, Kristensen HK. Methods for teaching evidence-based practice: a scoping review. BMC Med Educ. 2019;19(259).