Recent advances in evidence-based psychiatry

Can J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;46(5):403-6. doi: 10.1177/070674370104600503.


Background: There is increasing interest in the potential contribution of evidence-based medicine to clinical decision making in psychiatry. In this article, we describe some of the recent advances in evidence-based psychiatry and outline future challenges.

Method: Narrative review.

Content: The successful introduction of evidence-based practice into psychiatry requires the acquisition of new skills by clinicians. It is also important that policy statements that aim to be evidence-based, such as clinical practice guidelines, use rigorous methods to synthesize the primary evidence and do not overlook its limitations. One result of the systematic reviewing of evidence is the identification of important residual clinical uncertainties. Primary research can then be focused on these questions. For questions regarding therapy in psychiatry, it will be necessary to undertake some large, simple randomized trials. Making the best available evidence readily accessible in a clinical setting, however, remains a significant challenge.

Conclusions: Collaboration between clinicians, researchers, policy-makers, and those involved in information technology is required to optimize the contribution of evidence-based medicine in psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Culture
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Psychiatry / standards*