Modern medical care is influenced by two paradigms: 'evidence-based medicine' and 'patient-centered medicine'. In the last decade, both paradigms rapidly gained in popularity and are now both supposed to affect the process of clinical decision making during the daily practice of physicians. However, careful analysis shows that they focus on different aspects of medical care and have, in fact, little in common. Evidence-based medicine is a rather young concept that entered the scientific literature in the early 1990s. It has basically a positivistic, biomedical perspective. Its focus is on offering clinicians the best available evidence about the most adequate treatment for their patients, considering medicine merely as a cognitive-rational enterprise. In this approach the uniqueness of patients, their individual needs and preferences, and their emotional status are easily neglected as relevant factors in decision-making. Patient-centered medicine, although not a new phenomenon, has recently attracted renewed attention. It has basically a humanistic, biopsychosocial perspective, combining ethical values on 'the ideal physician', with psychotherapeutic theories on facilitating patients' disclosure of real worries, and negotiation theories on decision making. It puts a strong focus on patient participation in clinical decision making by taking into account the patients' perspective, and tuning medical care to the patients' needs and preferences. However, in this approach the ideological base is better developed than its evidence base. In modern medicine both paradigms are highly relevant, but yet seem to belong to different worlds. The challenge for the near future is to bring these separate worlds together. The aim of this paper is to give an impulse to this integration. Developments within both paradigms can benefit from interchanging ideas and principles from which eventually medical care will benefit. In this process a key role is foreseen for communication and communication research.