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WHSL Evidence-Based Medicine: Evidence-Based Medicine and Practice

This guide supplements WHSL lectures and tutorials on EBM information searching

What is Evidence-Based Medicine?

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) combines individual clinical expertise with the best available evidence from clinical research and systematic reviews in order to make decisions about the care of individual patients. Clinical expertise results from the proficiency and judgment that the individual clinician acquires through clinical experience and practice. Clinical evidence comes from patient-centered clinical research which investigates the accuracy and precision of diagnostic tests, the efficacy and safety of therapeutic regimes, and the reliability of prognostic indicators. The powerful combination of clinical expertise and documented evidence results in safer, more effective and accurate care of the patient. Documented evidence comes from reliable literature sources.

According to David L. Sackett, author of Evidence-based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM, the practice of EBM is a process of life-long, self-directed learning in which caring for the patient creates the need for clinically important information about diagnosis, prognosis, therapy and other clinical and health care issues.

EBM is a process that involves the following steps:

  1. Construct a pertinent answerable question from a clinical case
  2. Plan and carry out a search of the clinical literature (using sources such as PubMed, ACP Journal, Cochrane Database, etc.) that filters out irrelevant information
  3. Critically appraise the retrieved literature for validity and usefulness
  4. Apply the results of this appraisal to your clinical practice
  5. Evaluate your performance

About EBM - Print Textbooks

EBM Tutorials from Duke University

Duke University Medical Center Library has excellent EBM tutorials. Permission to reproduce these guides under a Creative Commons non-commercial  share alike 4.0 license is gratefully acknowledged.


Click here to access these guides.

Useful Databases about EBM