Making the right decisions when it comes to medical issues is sometimes difficult, even for specialists: What advantages and disadvantages does a treatment or diagnostic test have? Is it even necessary and are there any alternatives? Evidence-based medicine (EBM) seeks reliable answers that can help you find the treatment that is right for you. It is based on scientific proof, and not just theories or expert opinions.
If you’re ill, you’ll usually want to get better as soon as possible. Ideally that will simply happen without you having to do anything, and your body will fight off the illness on its own after a few days. But medicine can often help to speed up recovery or avoid complications. Whether having treatment is better than waiting it out depends on a number of different factors: What are the chances of a treatment leading to a faster recovery? Is it likely to cause side effects? Could complications develop if you don’t have treatment?
Patients, as well as doctors and other healthcare professionals, need information they can depend on in these sorts of situations to make the best decisions possible. This is the purpose of evidence-based medicine (EBM): to provide healthcare professionals, patients and those close to them with up-to-date and scientifically proven information on the various medical options that are available to them. It can help to find out what sorts of advantages or disadvantages a treatment or test has, when people might benefit from it and whether it might also be harmful.
EBM uses special methods that it has developed to find the highest quality evidence for the benefits of a specific medical intervention. This evidence can be found in conclusive scientific studies. EBM also plays a part in making sure that the research that is done can help patients to answer the most important questions. This means that studies look into both the benefits of a treatment as well as how it affects quality of life, for example.