Seven characteristics of medical evidence

J Eval Clin Pract. 2000 May;6(2):93-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2753.2000.00244.x.


This paper outlines seven essential characteristics of medical evidence and describes the implications of these for both the theory of evidence-based medicine and clinical practice. The seven characteristics are: (1) Provisional; (2) Defeasible; (3) Emergent; (4) Incomplete; (5) Constrained; (6) Collective and (7) Asymmetric. It is argued that the epistemological theory that best fits medical evidence is that of fallibilism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Medical
  • Evidence-Based Medicine* / classification
  • Health Care Rationing
  • Humans
  • Jurisprudence