What's the evidence?
With just the click of a mouse, you can access thousands of research articles of variable credibility about lots of different medical conditions. But how do you actually apply them to clinical practice? Manique Wijesinghe and Sharon Strauss describe how you should use evidence based medicine
- By: Sharon E Strauss, Manique Wijesinghe
Practising evidence based medicine (EBM) is one way for medics to keep abreast of the clinical literature. The term EBM was coined about 10 years ago, but its origins date even earlier. EBM refers to “the judicious application of best current knowledge to the condition and values of the individual patient.”1
Medical students and doctors need critical appraisal skills to make sense of the overwhelming volume of information available. A study in the BMJ showed that teaching these skills so that they are integrated into clinical practice has greater benefits than traditional methods such as workshops and standalone courses.2
Since 1997, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London has been holding regular meetings at which the evidence about a particular clinical problem is reviewed. When the reviewers believe that that research supports it, they change existing treatment plans.3 This approach stresses the practical clinical application of evidence.
Using evidence based