Evidence-based medicine (EBM)
“Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence-based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise we mean the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.”
Sackett DL, Rosenberg WM, Gray JA, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ. 1996 Jan 13;312(7023):71-2. doi: 10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71. (online | PDF)
EBM is therefore about basing clinical decisions on theoretical knowledge and scientific evidence, while considering patient preferences. But in no case can this evidence replace the judgment and experience of the physician. EBM therefore complements and challenges traditional medical practice, but does not replace it. This very important role given to the evidence makes it necessary to acquire methodological training in order to be able to evaluate and criticize the validity of evidence.
EBM originated at McMaster University (Canada) in the early 1980s. It was initially a new method of teaching and reasoning in the framework of medical students’ training. In the 1990s, EBM became a methodology for practitioners and was adopted by the Cochrane Collaboration. Today, EBM is not only relevant to medical education, but also to practice, nursing and public health.
Source: Guillemette Utard, «Evidence-Based Medicine. La médecine fondée sur les preuves. Tutoriel». Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé – Paris – juin 2014, licence (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 FR)
In our experience, EBM and investigative journalism are similar in many ways: both have a well-defined methodological and ethical framework, and both are based on a hypothetical-deductive approach that involves explicitly formulating a hypothesis and assessing veracity of all facts. We are convinced that bringing them together is fruitful and in the public interest.