Science and proven experience: a Swedish variety of evidence-based medicine?

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Persson, Johannes; Vareman, Niklas; Wallin, Annika; Wahlberg, Lena; Sahlin, Nils-Eric
conference paper description
A key question for evidence-based medicine (EBM) is how best to model the way in which EBM should “[integrate] individual clinical expertise and the best external evidence” (Sackett et al. 1996). We argue that the formulations and models available in the literature today are modest variations on a common theme and face very similar problems. For example, both the early and updated models of evidence-based clinical decisions presented in Haynes, Devereaux and Guyatt (2002) assume (with Sackett, et. al., 1996) that EBM consists of, among other things, evidence from clinical research and clinical expertise. On this A-view, EBM describes all that goes on in a specific justifiable medical decision. There is, however, an alternative interpretation of EBM, the B-view, in which EBM describes just one component of the decision situation (a component usually based on evidence from clinical research) and in which, together with other types of evidence, EBM leads to a justifiable clincial decision but does not describe the decision itself. This B-view is inspired by a 100-years older version of EBM, a Swedish standard requiring medical decision-making and practice to be in accordance with ‘science and proven experience’. In the paper we outline how the Swedish concept leads to an improved understanding of the way in which scientific evidence and clinical experience can and cannot be integrated in light of EBM. In addition the paper sketches the as yet unexplored historical background to EBM.