This is the "What is EBM?" page of the "Evidence Based Medicine Guide" guide.
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Evidence Based Medicine Guide  

Information about, and resources for, evidence based medicine
Last Updated: May 27, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

What is EBM? Print Page

EBM is...

"the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values." (Sackett, David L., et al., Evidence-based medicine: how to practice and teach EBM. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 2000. p. 1)


Things to remember

1) Processing information into high levels of evidence takes time, and there is no guarantee that evidence exists at all levels for a specific clinical question.

2) Start with the highest level of evidence available.  High-level resources build upon resources found in the lowere levels of the pyramid to provide concise and up to date information.

3) Preappraised resources have a strict filtering process to insure that only high-quality information is included.  Good resources will make their filtering processes readily available to users.


6S Model

6S model pyramid


Levels of Evidence

  • Systems - The highest level of evidence.  Computerized decision support systems integrate and summarize all the available relevant research evidence, updates as new evidence becomes available, and automatically links relevant information to a patient's electronic medical recod.  

  • Summaries - Includes clinical pathways or textbook summaries.  Summaries integrate evidence for specific clinical problems and regularly update as new evidence becomes available.

  • Synopses of Syntheses - Comprehensive summaries of all the research related to focused clinical questions.

  • Syntheses - Systematic reviews.

  • Synopses of Studies - Highly detailed summaries of original high-quality single studies.  Found in the evidence-based abstraction journals and are accompanied by commentaries that address the clinical applicability of a study's findings.

  • Studies - Original single studies.  Can be preappraised or nonappraised. 

Medical Librarians

+John Coffey

+Andrea Kepsel

+Abe Wheeler


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