What Evidence Do You Have?

David Epstein, MD, MS, FAAP reflects on evidence-based medicine and its importance in the practice of medicine.

The term, evidence-based medicine, is commonly used in the medical field. But, what is it referring to?

Isn’t all medicine based on evidence? While most would prefer that to be the case, medicine is as much an art as a science sometimes. Our understanding of medicine is still growing and that growth occurs through the accumulation of scientific evidence.
Treatment protocols, testing strategies, preventative measures, and many more aspects of medical care are evaluated and analyzed to identify the best ways to treat, diagnose, and prevent disease.
Scientific methods are employed to provide the best, objective, and unbiased evaluation and analysis.
Evidence accumulates through these evaluations and analyses to support or oppose certain medical practices.

Science is very deliberate and methodical.

The medical field does its best to enlist best practices, as defined by the current evidence. Nevertheless, the evidence can change as we learn more and science evolves. Science is not static. It is dynamic. Science builds on itself and this is why science matters.

The medical community covets evidence.

It is what is best for our patients. While there is room for interpretation and extrapolation of the science that represents the art of medicine, evidence-based practice is the first choice for the support of medical care practices. So, when you hear the term, evidence-based medicine, know that the delivered medical care is based on science, based on a concerted effort to provide medical truth, and based on the best source of unbiased and beneficial data to support the best medical practice.

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