This essay reviews the historical circumstances surrounding the introduction and evolution of evidence-based medicine. Criticisms of the approach are also considered. Weaknesses of existing standards of clinical practice and efforts to bring more certainty to clinical decision making were the foundation for evidence-based medicine, which integrates epidemiology and medical research. Because of its utility in designing randomized clinical trials, assessing the quality of the literature, and applying medical research at the bedside, evidence-based medicine will continue to have a strong influence on everyday clinical practice.
Keywords: Evidence-based medicine; epidemiology; history; policy; randomized controlled trials; translational research.