Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious and judicious use of current best knowledge in making decisions about the care of individual patients, often from well-designed, randomized, controlled trials. Authoritative medicine is the traditional approach to learning and practicing medicine, but no one authority has comprehensive scientific knowledge. Archie Cochrane proposed that every medical specialty should compile a list of all of the randomized, controlled trials within its field to be available for those who wish to know what treatments are effective. This was done first for obstetrics by a group collecting and critically analyzing all of the randomized trials and then indicating procedures every mother should have and those that no mother should have. Support during labor was used as an example. Similar groups are now active in almost all specialties, with information available on the Internet in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Developmental-behavioral pediatrics should be part of this movement to evidence-based medicine.
Address for reprints: John H. Kennell, M.D., Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Division of Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology, Mail Stop 6038, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106.
Adapted from the Irving B. Harris Lecture. 16th Annual Scientific Meeting. Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Cleveland. Ohio. September 27, 1998.
© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.