Conclusions

The objective of most physicians surely is to provide their patients with the best health care. To do so, a physician must be able to assess the patient's physical condition, know the best and most current information about diagnosis, prevention, therapy, prognosis and potential harm, and apply that knowledge to the specific patient. Medicine is advancing very rapidly, creating major changes in the way we treat our patients. We must keep up with such changes. We need to be up to date with such new external evidence. We frequently fail to do this if we rely on passive means or an occasional flick through the main journals, and our knowledge gradually deteriorates with time. Attempts to overcome this deficiency by attending clinical education programmes fails to improve our performance, whereas the practice of EBM has been shown to keep its practitioners up to date. EBM is a way of thinking that is intended to help accomplish these objectives. If we stick to thinking about patients' welfare when contemplating EBM, we are less likely to get things wrong.5,10

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