Peer Reviewed

Red noses and Rudolph: evidence based medicine in the real world

Sally Murray
Armed with technology, patients can readily access trial data and are increasingly informed about treatment options. How do you respond to their questions? Can you explain adequately the pros and cons of the treatment and trials, as well as the terminology?
Key Points

    While governments and academics argue for the use of evidence based medicine (EBM) in clinical practice, the more daunting proponents of EBM in daily practice are often our patients.

    A recent Australian study published in the BMJ suggests that many GPs do not understand terminology commonly used in EBM. Although the study authors did not suggest GPs should be experts at epidemiology and evidence based research, they did argue that GPs should be competent in handling the common questions that patients bring to them.

    This article provides some information and resources so that next time you are reviewing guidelines or treatment options in study reports, you can be confident that you, and your patient, understand the study, including its advantages, disadvantages and outcome measures, before making a treatment decision.

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