Evidence Based Medicine

What does Evidence Based Medicine mean?

The most common definition for evidence based medicine is provided by Dr. David Sackett. Evidence based medicine is "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research." (Sackett D, 1996)

Using the evidence based method approach in patient care allows the doctor to integrate both their expertise (experience, clinical skills, and education) with the best evidence available and the values of the patient, including their unique set of expectations, concerns, feelings and values.

Using the EBM process a doctor will diagnose the patient. Next, they will construct a well-built clinical question derived from the case and begin the process of researching the case, using appropriate resources. The evaluation of the patient's case includes reviewing the usefulness of evidence and its practical value to this particular case. Then the doctor can schedule another visit with the patient to discuss the patient's personal preferences for care. Finally, the doctor should evaluate the success of the treatment plan.

Criticisms of Evidence Based Medicine

Critics claim the guidelines of evidence based medicine are not necessarily scientific or evidence based, and that its usefulness may be impractical, especially with regards to an injured worker. Critics claim it can also reduce the autonomy of the doctor-patient relationship by limiting an injured worker's right to choose what the best method of care might be for their individual circumstances.

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