Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a clinical discipline that emerged in the
1990's. It is a discipline that formalises the long-practised principle of basing
clinical practice on scientific evidence. "The practice of EBM is a process
of life-long, problem-based learning in which caring for our own patients creates
the need for evidence about diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, and other clinical
and health issues."
Medicine has often been described as combining
features of art and science. EBM is recognition that elements of clinical practice
can, like a science, be quantified. In areas where unbiased scientific evidence
is available then clinical practice should take into consideration the appropriate
EBM is not however a panacea to the problems of all medical decision
making. Clinical medicine is a discipline that involves individuals and therefore
the art of medicine must take into account particular individual attributes in
the context of evidence that is available.
In the writing of this database,
the authors attempt to base information, where available, on the appropriate evidence.
Relevant evidence, where available, is referenced within the particular database
sections. The aim of this section of the system is as a repository for some of
the references to evidence that are used within this system. This section is not
an attempt to write an EBM database.
Note that, as in any other textbook,
there are vast areas of medicine that must be included where the evidence has
not yet been formalised or does not exist. Information concerning these areas
still must be conveyed and it is here where factors such as peer and specialist
review of material play a role in construction of information.