Evidence based medicine: an approach to clinical problem-solving

BMJ. 1995 Apr 29;310(6987):1122-6. doi: 10.1136/bmj.310.6987.1122.


Doctors within the NHS are confronting major changes at work. While we endeavour to improve the quality of health care, junior doctors' hours have been reduced and the emphasis on continuing medical education has increased. We are confronted by a growing body of information, much of it invalid or irrelevant to clinical practice. This article discusses evidence based medicine, a process of turning clinical problems into questions and then systematically locating, appraising, and using contemporaneous research findings as the basis for clinical decisions. The computerisation of bibliographies and the development of software that permits the rapid location of relevant evidence have made it easier for busy clinicians to make best use of the published literature. Critical appraisal can be used to determine the validity and applicability of the evidence, which is then used to inform clinical decisions. Evidence based medicine can be taught to, and practised by, clinicians at all levels of seniority and can be used to close the gulf between good clinical research and clinical practice. In addition it can help to promote self directed learning and teamwork and produce faster and better doctors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Medicine*
  • Data Collection
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Humans
  • Problem Solving*
  • Professional Practice