, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 387-399

Evidence-Based Medicine and Psychiatric Practice

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Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been defined as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” EBM requires the ability to apply a knowledge of medical informatics (e.g., efficiently searching the medical literature) and clinical epidemiology (e.g., being able to critically appraise the literature) to the treatment of individual patients. This article provides an introduction to the history, philosophy, and methods of EBM as applied to psychiatric practice. The article summarizes the five-step EBM model: (1) formulate the question; (2) search for answers; (3) appraise the evidence; (4) apply the results; and (5) assess the outcome. Resources (including Web sites) for further learning are provided.