The practice of evidence-based medicine involves the care of whole persons

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8 Scopus citations


In this issue of the Journal, Dr. Fava posits that evidence-based medicine (EBM) was bound to fail. I share some of the concerns he expresses, yet I see more reasons for optimism. Having been on rounds with both Drs. Engel and Sackett, I reckon they would have agreed more than they disagreed. Their central teaching was the compassionate and well-informed care of sick persons. The model that emerged from these rounds was that patient care could be both person-centered and evidence-based, that clinical judgment was essential to both, and the decisions could and should be shared. Both clinicians and patients can bring knowledge from several sources into the shared decision making process in the clinical encounter, including evidence from clinical care research. I thank Dr. Fava for expressing legitimate doubts and providing useful criticism, yet I am cautiously optimistic that the model of EBM described here is robust enough to meet the challenges and is not doomed to fail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-21
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Care of whole persons
  • Evidence-based medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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