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Medical News & Perspectives
May 12, 2015

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Evidence-based Medicine

JAMA. 2015;313(18):1783-1785. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2845

What’s in a name? Just ask Gordon Guyatt, MD, MSc. Twenty-five years ago, when he took over as residency director of the internal medicine program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Guyatt wanted to teach resident physicians how to find the best clinical evidence in the medical literature, interpret it correctly, and practice it with patients. “It was something very new at the time,” he says.

To spread the word and appeal to Canadian medical school graduates, he needed a simple label for the approach. He suggested the term “scientific medicine” during a Department of Medicine meeting. “The folks at the meeting, particularly the basic scientists, were outraged,” he recalls. They certainly weren’t teaching unscientific medicine, they protested, and the basic scientists already considered their work to be scientific medicine. So Guyatt needed a new name.

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