What Do You Know About Evidence Based Medicine?

What Do You Know About Evidence Based Medicine? post image

Unless you are a medical professional, you may not have heard of evidence based medicine. In layman’s terms, evidence based medicine is that which combines knowledge gleaned from in-clinic practice and external evidence in order to best treat an individual patient.

Combining evidence gathered from a variety of scientific sources allows doctors to determine whether a treatment will benefit a patient more than it will harm them. Here’s what you, as a patient, should know about evidence based medicine:

1.Determination of Evidence Quality

All evidence is not of equal quality when it comes to evidence based medicine. As with anything else in life that involves opinion, biases and misinformation come into play. It’s up to your doctor to determine the quality of the evidence that he or she is considering. When it comes to therapeutic interventions, for example, the best evidence comes from triple-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled medical trials. Of little value are patient testimonials, expert opinion and case reports.

2.Clinical Trial Quality

Clinical trials vary in their quality and usability when it comes to evidence based medicine. To be considered a high-quality clinical trial, the trial must have clearly defined eligibility criteria, missing data must be minimal, cannot be generalized to other clinical contexts, must provide sufficient time for follow up, and have a sufficient number of patients to detect the differences in treatment arms. If clinical trials don’t meet this set of criteria, they cannot be considered valuable in the case of evidence based medicine.

3.Benefits for the Patient

Benefits of evidence based medicine lie in the quality of care, cost savings and reductions of errors. By using evidence based practices, physicians have been able to save their patients 12 percent when it comes to prescription costs. Additionally, patients are exposed to risky drugs less often than in years past. Patients also realize a cost savings by securing the proper treatment sooner, thanks to doctors who research best practices and put them to use.

4.Limitations

Medical practitioners often consider evidence based medicine to be the supreme standard of health care, though it’s not without its limitations. At times, research results may not be relevant for every treatment situation. Additionally, randomized controlled trials may not always have results that extend to conditions outside the central cause of the study. This means that while one drug may be found to have contraindications with another drug, the drug may also increase mortality in a certain population. If this increase in mortality isn’t the central grounds for the study, the information may be ignored.

If you’re a patient, finding a physician that utilizes evidence based medicine is often in your best interest. If you want to be sure that you are getting health care based on proven results, finding a doctor that uses scientific evidence gathered from their own experience as well as outside sources is imperative. The next time your doctor suggests a treatment or medication, ask what information he or she is basing their decisions on. If your doctor can’t point to scientific evidence, you may want to look for a new health care provider.

For further readings, we would like to recommend Catie Lindt’s higher ed blogs which features MBA degrees offered by several universities including OU and UNC.

Morgan Lindman writes for health and beauty blogs and recommends checking out Dr. Buford for your procedure.
5 comments… add one
  • Being not in the medical profession, this information surely interests me. I don’t quite understand everything about evidence based medicine so I guess it would be best for me to ask for second opinion.

  • This kind of reminds me of Patch Adams. Isn’t every single patient supposed to be treated as such. A unique individual with a domain of many issues that may cause health problems to arise. Isn’t treating the person, and not the condition, the best practice in general?

  • Great post about the evidence based medicine. It should be clear, that this is not in all cases the best practice and the best way for the patient. Modern medicine should be specialized on the individuality of each patient.

  • Interesting. I think today more than ever, the medical field should be crossing new boundaries with the prevalence of eastern medicine & things like these.

  • I think the benefit for the patient is the most important Point on the list. In Germany are a lot of unnecessary surgerys and errors in surgery. Therefore the reductions of errors is the most important argument for the evidence based medicine.

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