Evidence-based medicine, at its simplest definition, is the practice of medicine whereby actual practice and methods of practicing are influenced by the most robust and recent clinical and scientific information. In other words, evidence-based medical practice is the term that describes instances when methods of medical treatment are modified due to new, compelling evidence.
“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.” – Sackett, Rosenburg, Gray, Haynes, and Richardson, “Evidence-based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t”, January 1996
Key questions must be asked by anyone seeking to update their practice based on new evidence. Can a meta-analysis that supports a specific medical practice be constructed, or does the constructed meta-analysis reveal that the topic or target of study is too deficient in evidence to include in practice?
Understanding that the philosophy of science should be applied to any sufficient understanding of scientific study and information is critical to understanding why evidence-based practices are so important. Science is not a “thing” or “belief”, but rather the summation of scientific methods of achieving understanding about medicine and the world at large; this makes evidence-based medicine a particularly useful methodology for creating more effective, cutting-edge treatments.
Evidence-based medicine requires the utmost effort at critical thinking and application. All evidence is provisional, meaning practice is subject to change at the discovery and study of new information. According to Karl Popper, one of the central attributes of science is that every scientific claim is subject to being proven false in principle. Failure to assimilate relevant evidence and information on a timely basis can cause medical practice to suffer in the near term, especially when the rate of new information grows exponentially as new discoveries are made.
Evidence-based medicine can best be summed up in three major points that form the whole of the practice: (a) clinical expertise, (b) best research evidence, and (c) patient values. Ensuring that practice falls within this triad helps to make treatment as effective as possible in both the present and future.
At Landmark Recovery, we apply evidence-based practice to how we treat our patients, allowing our treatments to achieve maximum effectiveness in a clinical environment. Each path forward is personalized to the needs of the patient according to the most up-to-date knowledge about substance abuse and substance abuse treatment.
To learn more about the origins of evidence-based medicine, click here.
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