, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 161-171

Evidence-based behavioral medicine: What is it and how do we achieve it?

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The goal of evidence-based medicine is ultimately to improve patient outcomes and quality of care. Systematic reviews of the available published evidence are required to identify interventions that lead to improvements in behavior, health, and well-being. Authoritative literature reviews depend on the quality of published research and research reports. The Consolidated Standards for Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement (www.consort-statement.org) was developed to improve the design and reporting of interventions involving randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in medical journals. We describe the 22 CONSORT guidelines and explain their application to behavioral medicine research and to evidence-based practice. Additional behavioral medicine-specific guidelines (e.g., treatment adherence) are also presented. Use of these guidelines by clinicians, educators, policymakers, and researchers who design, report, and evaluate or review RCTs will strengthen the research itself and accelerate efforts to apply behavioral medicine research to improve the processes and outcomes of behavioral medicine practice.

Authors (members of the Evidence-Based Behavioral Medicine Committee) are listed in alphabetical order. Each contributed equally to the process of thinking and writing that produced this document. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) Contract No. NLM 00-158/LTN. Karina W. Davidson is now at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.