Knowing when evidence is trustworthy
- 1Pain Research and Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, The Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK
- 2Division of Health Outcomes and Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
- Correspondence to Dr R A Moore, Pain Research and Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, The Churchill Hospital, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK;
- Received 24 September 2012
- Accepted 28 September 2012
- Published Online First 26 October 2012
Evidence-based medicine is often seen as something dry, formal, and statistical, often used to justify a proscriptive approach to medicine. A more attractive approach is to use our understanding of those aspects of studies that can mislead us to identify the evidence we can trust. Evidence can, and probably should, be based on patient-centred outcomes of importance to clinical practice. The particular issues differ somewhat between clinical trials, observational studies, adverse events, diagnosis, and health economics. Here we explore some of important criteria relating to evidence from randomised trials, either alone or in meta-analyses.