World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 547–553 | Cite as

History and Development of Evidence-based Medicine

  • Jeffrey A. Claridge
  • Timothy C. FabianEmail author


This article illustrates the timeline of the development of evidence-based medicine (EBM). The term “evidence-based medicine” is relatively new. In fact, as far as we can tell, investigators from McMaster’s University began using the term during the 1990s. EBM was defined as “a systemic approach to analyze published research as the basis of clinical decision making.” Then in 1996, the term was more formally defined by Sacket et al., who stated that EBM was “the conscientious and judicious use of current best evidence from clinical care research in the management of individual patients.” Ancient era EBM consists of ancient historical or anecdotal accounts of what may be loosely termed EBM. This was followed by the development of the renaissance era of EBM, which began roughly during the seventeenth century. During this era personal journals were kept and textbooks began to become more prominent. This was followed by the 1900s, during an era we term the transitional era of EBM (1900–1970s). Knowledge during this era could be shared more easily in textbooks and eventually peer-reviewed journals. Finally, during the 1970s we enter the modern era of EBM. Technology has had a large role in the advancement of EBM. Computers and database software have allowed compilation of large amounts of data. The Index Medicus has become a medical dinosaur of the past that students of today likely do not recognize. The Internet has also allowed incredible access to masses of data and information. However, we must be careful with an overabundance of “unfiltered” data. As history, as clearly shown us, evidence and data do not immediately translate into evidence based practice.


Evidence Base Medicine Cochrane Collaboration Evil Spirit Scurvy Current Good Evidence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA

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