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Physicians have been practicing based on "evidence" for many
decades. However, traditionally due to multitude of reasons,
including limited availability of sound clinical research and
limited access to available data, they heavily relied on anecdotal
evidence, which was primarily derived from their clinical
experience, the recommendations of their colleagues and the
writings of the "authorities" in their field. Over the past two
decades, with the advances in technology, in particular the advent
of the electronic age, the ability to disseminate more objective
evidence has greatly increased and there has been a shift toward
relying more on such evidence over the anecdotal approaches of the
The term "Evidence-Based Medicine" (EBM) with its modern meaning
was first coined by Dr. Gordon Guyatt and his team in a 1992
publication in the Journal of the American Medical
Association(JAMA). Later EBM was defined by Dr. David Sackett
as "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best
evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual
Since its formal introduction, EBM has gradually become the
standard for the practice of medicine. As future physicians, we
will be practicing in an environment that requires detailed
knowledge and regular practice of EBM. However, not all studies
meet the threshold for integration into daily clinical practice and
require careful evaluation by the reader. Given the rigorous
curriculum of medical school and the vast number of studies that
are published on a daily basis, it is impossible to critically
evaluate each and every study to extract relevant data. Therefore,
it is important to identify reliable resources that provide
high-quality evidence for various clinical needs. The following
list identifies a number of these resources, which at the time of
this publication are free to medical students. It must be noted
that this is not a comprehensive list of all available resources,
and some of the following sites may require registration for free
membership prior to use.
National Guideline Clearinghouse:http://www.guideline.gov
Central database for clinical practice guidelines published by
various organizations. Also publishes expert commentaries and
summaries. The guidelines are sorted based on their specific topics
and based on their publishing organization.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Evidence-based recommendations of an independent panel of
non-federal experts for preventive services in primary care.
Registry and results database of federally and privately supported
clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the
ACP Journal Club:http://www.annals.org/site/acpjc/
Summarizes the best new evidence for internal medicine from over
130 clinical journals. These include articles related to general
internal medicine and subspecialties of internal medicine.
Additionally, the ACP Journal Club PLUS provides notifications
based on your preferences regarding newly published evidence. Both
services are FREE to ACP Medical Student Members.
Great resource for background information regarding diseases,
conditions, procedures, drugs and anatomy. Available online and on
most mobile devices.
Centre for Evidence Based Medicine
Provides an online tutorial regarding effective practice of
evidence-based medicine. Also, includes original research as well
as monthly publication of an extensive list of noteworthy articles
from various international journals.
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine
Provides a basic tutorial regarding EBM.
Amirala S. Pasha
Vice Chair, ACP Council of Student Members
University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine,
Disclaimer: All information, including but
not limited to website addresses, availability and pricing is
subject to change without prior notice. This list does not
constitute sponsorship by the American College of Physicians (ACP)
or the ACP's Council of Student Members.
September 2011 Issue of IMpact
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