PEPs - Clinical Quality and Evidence

Module 2 - Evidence


Image by F. Jourde on Flickr

Teacher's Comment

This module will show how we in clinical practice try to underpin everything we do with evidence. This is not unique to medicine. It is something that runs through all of life. In the current era with the availability of digital communication tools which can be accessed virtually everywhere we go; there should be no reason why we can not access such information. In addition our patients have the same access to information. So why do we need healthcare professionals? The answer is that when we become sick we become vulnerable and need a professional to steer us through the massive amount of information available, to reach the correct decision for ourselves. In addition there are those who use modern communication tools to distort evidence which can lead patients to making the wrong decisions. There are those with vested interests, both commercial and intellectual, who can distort evidence. In addition the media is hungry for information to write the first story on some development or another. And finally there are those who are happy to place their care and management in the hands of a professional and do not choose to second guess how things should be managed.

This module will take you through the theory behind Evidence-Based Medicine, the ways of ranking evidence and, most importantly, take you through several controversies where there has been conflict with poor science, poor interpretation of science, media manipulation of evidence and similar political manipulation. This will allow you to see that there is a minefield which needs to be negotiated. This will only get worse and understanding how to use evidence, and, most importantly, how to think for oneself in relation to the interpretation of evidence will be important throughout one’s entire career.