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Evidence Based Medicine: What is EBM

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Evidence based medicine (EBM) is a vital concept in providing the most effective and efficient patient care. This guide summarizes the key points of EBMand provides links to databases, websites, and worksheets for your research and information. 

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research."

"Evidence based medicine is not "cookbook" medicine. Because it requires a bottom up approach that integrates the best external evidence with individual clinical expertise and patients' choice, it cannot result in slavish, cookbook approaches to individual patient care. External clinical evidence can inform, but can never replace, individual clinical expertise, and it is this expertise that decides whether the external evidence applies to the individual patient at all and, if so, how it should be integrated into a clinical decision."

[Sackett DL, Rosenberg WMC, Gray JAM, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ. 1996;312:71-72.]

What is Evidence Based Medicine?

Not all evidence is equal. Below is a popular chart showcasing the levels of evidence:

[Sackett DL, Straus SE, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence-based medicine: how to practice and teach EBM. 2d ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.]

[Florida State University Medical School.]

The goal of EBM research is to find high quality materials, such as systematic reviews, RCTs, critically appraised articles, versus relying on expert opinions. This represents one aspect of EBM. 

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