Evidence Based Medicine

This guide is designed to assist health care professionals and students become effective and efficient users of the medical literature.

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Evidence Based Medicine

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What is Evidence Based Medicine?

Sackett, et al. defined Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) as "the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values." -- Sackett DL, Straus SE, Richardson WS, Rosenberg W Haynes RB. "Evidence-based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM". Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

"The practice of evidence-based medicine is a process of life-long, self-directed learning in which caring for one's own patients creates the need for clinically important information about diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, and other clinical and health care issues..." -- Sackett DL. "Evidence-Based Medicine." Semin Perinatol. 1997; 21(1):3-5.

EBM is… "an evolutionary progression of knowledge based on the basic and clinical sciences and facilitated by the age of information technology." -- Doherty, Steve. "Evidence-based medicine: Arguments for and Against."  Emergency Medicine Australasia. 2005; 17: 307-13.

Evidence Based Medicine is a process of life-long, problem-based learning.

The process involves:

  1. Converting information needs into focused questions.
  2. Efficiently tracking down the best evidence with which to answer the question.
  3. Critically appraising the evidence for validity and clinical usefulness.
  4. Applying the results in clinical practice.
  5. Evaluating the performance of the evidence in clinical application.

Introduction to EBM

Please feel free to view this introductory lecture, which provides history, definitions, and general background information that is helpful when first learning about Evidence Based Medicine. 


Throughout this guide we have chosen to use the phrase 'Evidence Based Medicine' or 'EBM'.  We acknowledge that many health care professionals prefer the more encompassing terminology of 'Evidence Based Practice' or 'EBP'.  We hope that this guide is helpful to everyone interested in evidence based health care. 

Leaders in EBM

Several groups have been leaders in Evidence Based Medicine. Their initiatives in promoting the practice of EBM are numerous and are detailed in various sections of this guide.