[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Citations 0
Books, Journals, New Media
September 27, 2000

Research Literature: Studying a Study and Testing a Test: How to Read the Medical Evidence

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2000;284(12):1579. doi:10.1001/jama.284.12.1579

The last decade has seen a growing interest in "evidence-based medicine": the practice of medicine guided by a careful and critical reading of the latest available research findings. The popularity of secondary journals, such as the ACP Journal Club, Evidence-Based Medicine, and Evidence-Based Mental Health (as well as Evidence-Based Nursing) attest to the demand by clinicians for high-quality studies. However, evidence-based medicine requires a new set of skills and a new knowledge base in physicians: using the computer to search MEDLINE effectively and efficiently; knowing the different types of research designs, and the strengths and weaknesses of each; being able to assess the properties of diagnostic tests, such as sensitivity, specificity, and the predictive values of positive and negative test results in various groups of patients; and mastering (or at least having a nodding acquaintance with) the arcane terminology of health economics.