Medical practice has always been informed by many things: textbooks, personal experience (good and bad), scientific research, patient expectations, teaching from senior doctors, colleagues opinions, old wives' tales... the list goes on.
Every clinical decision is based on a combination of these factors, acting to differing degrees upon the individual clinican. The trouble is, of course, that many of these sources of information are far from trustworthy. Many of the traditions within medicine, handed down through generations of doctors, are simply wrong, and many more miss the mark of the best practice. Personal experience can be helpful to clinicians, but it can also bias their judgements detrimentally. Our reading of the scientific literature, being necessarily limited by time, will tend to bias our knowledge.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is an approach to medical decision making that acknowledges our need to be informed by a comprehensive summary of the best scientific evidence, appraised systematically and expertly, without bias. Factors such as experience, compassion and equity still factor in the decision making process, but EBM allows a reasonable degree of certainty that the scientific basis for decisions is as sound as possible." Source: BestBETs.org
To help make your professional life just a little easier here's some of Health WorldNet's favorite resources.
BMJ Clinical Evidence is one of the world's most authoritative medical resources for informing treatment decisions and improving patient care.
The Internet's leading resources for Evidence-Based Medicine. Allowing users to rapidly identify the highest quality clinical evidence for clinical practice
Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
Under the Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) Program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research–AHCPR), 5-year contracts are awarded to institutions in the United States and Canada to serve as EPCs. The EPCs review all relevant scientific literature on clinical, behavioral, and organization and financing topics to produce evidence reports, technical reviews (covering nonclinical methodological topics), and technology assessments.
Bandolier is a website about the use of evidence in health, healthcare, and medicine.
BETs were developed in the Emergency Department of Manchester Royal Infirmary, UK, to provide rapid evidence-based answers to real-life clinical questions, using a systematic approach to reviewing the literature.
HSTATis a free, Web-based resource of full-text documents that provide health information and support health care decision making.
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
CRD undertakes systematic reviews evaluating the research evidence on health and public health questions of national and international importance.
At EB Medicine, we prides ourselves on our unparalleled quality and convenience. EB Medicine covers medicine the way you actually practice it -- real patients, real challenges, and real solutions.
Essential Evidence Plus
Essential Evidence Plus features must-have content, tools, calculators, and daily email alerts for clinicians who deliver first-contact care.
Evidence Based Emergency Medicine
The EBEM working group is a group of largely academic Emergency Physicians who are committed to developing resources for and teaching of Evidence Based Medicine within our specialty. We maintain a collaborative listserv for those interested in project development within this area.
Evidence Based Health Care
The Web Page contains references, bibliographies, tutorials, glossaries, and on-line databases to guide those embarking on teaching and practicing evidence-based medicine.
Evidence Based Pediatrics
This page serves as a resource for our residents and faculty who are developing skills in the practice of evidence-based pediatrics.
Evidence-Based Pracice for Public Health
This website provides free online access to evidence-based public health resources, knowledge domains of public health, and public health journals and databases.
Intro to Evidence Based Medicine
This tutorial is intended for any health care practitioner or student who needs a basic introduction to the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine.
Fundamental tools for understanding and applying the medical literature and making clinical diagnoses.
MD Consult brings the leading medical resources together into one integrated online service to help you efficiently find answers to pressing clinical questions and make better treatment decisions.
National Guideline Clearinghouse
The NGC mission is to provide physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, health care providers, health plans, integrated delivery systems, purchasers and others an accessible mechanism for obtaining objective, detailed information.
Physiotherapy Evidence Database
Developed to give rapid access to bibliographic details and abstracts of randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy.
We are a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 17 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1950s.
The Cochrane Collaboration
The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of more than 31,000 dedicated people from over 120 countries. We work together to help healthcare practitioners, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews — over 5,000 so far, published online in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, part of The Cochrane Library. We also prepare the largest collection of records of randomised controlled trials in the world, called CENTRAL, published as part of The Cochrane Library.
The core value of the NNT is its straightforward communication of the science that can help us understand the likelihood that a patient will be helped, harmed, or unaffected by a treatment.
Therapeutics Education Collaboration
The main goal of the Therapeutics Education Collaboration (TEC) is to provide physicians, pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, naturopathic physicians, other health professionals, and the public with current, evidence-based, practical and relevant information on rational drug therapy. The overall philosophy of the TEC is to encourage clinicians to engage in shared informed decision-making, critical thinking, and exercise some degree of healthy skepticism when it comes to the use of new and old medications.