The Case For Evidence Based Medicine

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December 18th, 2012

Evidence based medicineEvidence Based Medicine is a valuable practice for reducing variability in medical care, containing costs and improving the overall care delivered to patients.

For many medical practitioners, their experience or experience learned through others is the optimal reference point when making treatment decisions for their patients. However, reliance on this experience creates a large amount of variability in the care provided to patients. This variability leads to increased costs, inefficient medical care and may even have a negative impact on outcomes. Variation is said to occur in treatment pathways, the type and amount of testing, prescribed medications and many other areas of care delivery. This topic has been the subject of countless studies showing a huge amount of variability in medical treatments with no indication of a common method for diagnosing and treating specific conditions.

The alternative is Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). By using data from external clinical research combined with individual clinical expertise, EBM allows physicians to determine the method of treatment for the patients with greater accuracy and efficiency.  Evidence Based Medicine is used across the world and can be applied to various areas of medicine. EBM allows physicians to identify and use the most effective treatment options and provide better quality and more efficient care. By providing a systematic approach and clinical guidelines for treating patients, EBM reduces physician variability, improves health outcomes and in turn lowers the cost of care.  Use of EBM has also been shown to reduce complications, hospital readmissions, and inpatient hospitalizations. EBM used as preventative treatment can also cut costs and improve quality of care by providing early diagnosis for medical conditions.  Patient satisfaction is also positively affected by use of EBM. Patients are more likely to feel secure in their treatment plans when informed that it has been scientifically proven to be successful, and especially when shown scientific evidence during patient consultations.

With the healthcare industry shifting to different types of payment models and healthcare payers focusing on costs, observing physician behavior to reduce variability and increase efficiencies is of increasing importance. Pinpointing areas for improvement has become easier with use of electronic medical records (EHRs) and data analysis tools that compare diagnoses, treatments and outcomes.

Today’s physicians should use both individual clinical expertise and the latest evidence based guidelines to treat patients.  Individual clinical experience can be used to determine how applicable clinical guidelines are to the individual and to what level they can be used.  External clinical evidence promotes clinical structure and the use of up to date medical methodologies.  Combined with individual experience, EBM can achieve improved health outcomes, reduced costs, and increased patient satisfaction.


3 Comments

  • Greetings and thanks for the chance to respond to your great article. I see the main issue with evidence based medicine as eliminating the variables and making room for entrepreneurial, forward thinking healthcare companies that focus primarily on new patient treatment options and less about clinical results.

    While it should be standard to measure the quality of care of new healthcare practices, strategies, and techniques, a focus on safety is only one of the main opportunities.

    There is no doubt that we all agree that we should put in place a standardized way to integrate quality and economics, however, basing them just on clinical results will lead to an equal amount of subjective variables.

    Perhaps one recommendation is to start with one area of healthcare where consensus on quality has been drawn, and utilize that as a model for new, forward thinking strategies.

    Thanks again for the chance to participate in your blog!

  • Andreas says:

    One of those 4 Chiropractors lives and practices in conjunction wifh other psychological, nursing graduation
    invitations spiritual, social, and social needs. To stay stress-free
    Being a nurse practjtioner helping parents cope with their wor situation.

    But it's something that's grown and developed me in nursing.

  • Your style is unique compared to other people I've read stuff from.

    Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.

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