, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 277-287

Is There a Tension Between Doctors' Duty of Care and Evidence-Based Medicine?

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Abstract

The interaction between evidence-based medicineand doctors' duty of care to patients iscomplex. One the one hand, there is surely anobligation to take account of the bestavailable evidence when offering health care topatients. On the other hand, it is equallyimportant to be aware of important shortcomingsin the processes and practices ofevidence-based medicine. There are tensionsbetween the population focus of evidence-basedmedicine and the duties that doctors have toindividual patients. Implementingevidence-based medicine may have unpredictableconsequences upon the overall quality of healthcare. Patients may have a range of reasons forpreferring one form of treatment over another,not all of which are captured by currentformulations of evidence. This paper examinesthese issues, using relevant examples fromevidence-based medicine.