As far back as the mid-19th century, rudimentary scientific methods and statistics were used to determine the best possible care.

In the 1970’s, the refinement of research tools to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment lead to the concept of ‘Data-Driven Care’ or ‘Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM).’

Since that time, groups such as RAND in the U.S. and The Cochrane Collaboration in the U.K. were formed to review the multiple research studies to distill them into clear ‘Best Practice Guidelines (BPGs),’ graded with respect to their ‘strengths.’

Over the past 20 years, the Internet, enabling real-time access to these recommendations, has defined Data-Driven Care/BPG as key metrics in quality care and the best possible—or optimal—‘outcomes.’


EBM is the body of knowledge from research and large clinical trials that, when applied to patient care in the form of Best-Practice Guidelines, promotes consistency of treatment and optimal outcomes.

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Evidence-Based Medicine and Best Practice Guidelines:

  1. Optimize outcomes by emphasizing evidence from well-conducted scientific studies
  2. Integrates physician clinical expertise with patient’s values and this best scientific evidence
  3. Classifies BPGs by their ‘strength,’ the likelihood that these will achieve the best ‘outcome’:
    • Strong Recommendation – Benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
    • Weak Recommendation – Less clear whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
  4. Differs from the ‘Traditional Medicine’ model of decisions, which was based entirely on individual physician knowledge, experience and preferences.
  5. Serve as supplements to considered physician decision-making
  6. Evidence-Based Medicine/Best Practice Guidelines are NOT one-size fits all ‘cookbook-style-medicine,’ a magical panacea or a tool for the lowest cost of care, but also consider:
    1. Patient desires and social factors
    2. Individual physician preferences
    3. Medical resources available for the treatment plan