Health care professionals are increasingly required to base clinical decisions on the best available evidence. Evidence based medicine (EBM) is a systematic approach to clinical problem solving which allows the integration of the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values. This paper explains the concept of EBM and introduces the five step EBM model: formulation of answerable clinical questions; searching for evidence; critical appraisal; applicability of evidence; evaluation of performance. Subsequent articles will focus on the principles and critical appraisal of randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, and provide a practical demonstration of the five step EBM model using a real life clinical scenario.
- EBM, evidence based medicine
- CASP, critical appraisal skills programme
- evidence based medicine
- formulating clinical questions
- search strategy
- critical appraisal
- clinical decision
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Competing interests: none declared