American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®



Evidence-based medicine

From the July/August 1997 ACP Observer, copyright © 1997 by the American College of Physicians.

I read with considerable surprise the article on evidence-based medicine. (Doctors' new focus on evidence, April ACP Observer , p. 1.) For 25 years, I have cared for patients based primarily on results of clinical studies, and I have observed my colleagues caring for their patients in exactly the same fashion. How does this differ from "... the growing discipline known as evidence-based medicine"? And is the alternative anecdote-based medicine?

E. Joseph Walton, FACP
Spartanburg, S.C.

Editor's note: R. Brian Haynes, FACP, responds:

Dr. Walton may well be practicing evidence-based medicine, but for doctors who are not up to date and not applying current best evidence in the care of their patients, one of the common responses to evidence-based medicine is that they are already doing it. I would suggest that Dr. Walton read an editorial that appeared in the November/December 1996 issue of ACP Journal Club (p. A-14 through A-16). If, on reading it, he concludes that he is practicing evidence-based medicine, then I salute him. If not, the editorials in the succeeding three issues of ACP Journal Club may help, as will the book "Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM," published by Churchill Livingstone.

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