Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Thoughts on Evidence and Medical Practice

My OB colleague to the north had an interesting insight while reading the much-discussed New Yorker article The Bell Curve (emphasis mine):

So, we can follow best practices, evidence based guidelines, the results of randomized clinical trials, etc., and apply them to our practice of medicine and surgery. But that alone will not enable us to achieve the results of a Dr. Warwick. What will then? I think the answer is time. Re-read the above. Imagine how much time that encounter with the patient took. Imagine if Dr. Warwick hadn't taken the time to discover why she wasn't taking her treatments? He gave her the greatest gift of all. His time. And compassion. Ultimately, that just may be the method.
I agree. It is one thing to follow the results of studies and try to practice in a truly "evidence based medicine" style. It is yet another to utilize the patience, time and thought needed to actually care for living, breathing, thinking human beings. Despite all the new buzzwords, the "con-fusion" of the two is what medicine has always been about. Kudos to the Red State Moron for pointing that out.