Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services

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Psychopharmacology 

Limitations of Evidence in the Practice of Evidence-Based Medicine

Robert H. Howland, MD

  • Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. 2007;45(11):13-16
  • Posted November 1, 2007

Abstract

The goal of evidence-based medicine (EBM) is to support population-based policies and individual medical decisions that serve to improve health outcomes through the use of the most proven effective treatments. The essence of EBM is to use evidence (typically research data) related to the effectiveness of medical interventions to guide decisions about whether to use those interventions in clinical practice. The quality of evidence is the critical component in understanding and using EBM. This article discusses the kinds and limitations of the evidence used in the practice of EBM.

Abstract

The goal of evidence-based medicine (EBM) is to support population-based policies and individual medical decisions that serve to improve health outcomes through the use of the most proven effective treatments. The essence of EBM is to use evidence (typically research data) related to the effectiveness of medical interventions to guide decisions about whether to use those interventions in clinical practice. The quality of evidence is the critical component in understanding and using EBM. This article discusses the kinds and limitations of the evidence used in the practice of EBM.
Authors
Dr. Howland is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The author discloses that he has no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Robert H. Howland, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; e-mail: HowlandRH@upmc.edu.

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