Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde vol:149 issue:36 pages:1983-1988
Since the introduction of evidence-based medicine (EBM) into the field of health care in the early nineties some major criticisms have appeared in scientific literature. One of the most commonly heard objections to EBM is loss of therapeutic freedom. However even with the advent of EBM the physician continues to look for solutions that are tailored to the patient. The available evidence is often inadequate, there are many inconsistencies and contradictions in the research material and the published outcomes are distorted by publication bias. There is resistance to the opinion that randomized clinical trials (RCTs) provide the best foundations on which to build clinical policies. There must always be room for views expressed in other types of study. EBM is primarily for academics and does not take clinical expertise into account. However as the results of scientific research are becoming increasingly available to a wider public, patients are able to challenge the decisions made by their health-care practitioners and push them to provide the motivation for their decisions. Many health-care practitioners have commented that they always have to take the results of scientific research into account. One strength of EBM in this is the transparent manner in which the overview of the literature develops and the systematic approach to results from scientific study. After all, there is insufficient evidence that the EBM process works effectively and that it therefore improves patient care. It is true to say that patients who receive treatment of which the efficacy has been proven experience better treatment results than other patients. Setting up a definitive randomized study to answer this question would be difficult if not impossible. EBM is an aid to support clinical decision making. The development of principles on which to base this way of thinking and acting and the quest for suitable research designs and the most objective research results in order to be able to answer all the questions posed by caregivers, is not yet complete. EBM is just one of the weapons in the armoury of the caregiver in the battle for the optimal provision.