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Updated December 31, 2007

Definition: In simple terms, evidence-based medicine means making decisions drawn from scientific evidence.

In more detailed terms, when scientific findings -- such as those conclusions drawn from clinical trials -- are used to develop medical protocols for medical diagnosis or treatment, then those protocols are considered to be evidence-based. Studies are conducted, evidence is collected, then those protocols are developed to yield the best statistical outcomes for patients.

Also Known As: evidence-based practice, evidence-based medicine
An example of evidence-based medicine is using aspirin for heart disease. Because a significant amount of clinical trials have shown aspirin to reduce the chances of having a second heart attack, it is now a standard prevention treatment among people who have had heart attacks.

A more thorough explanation of evidence-based medicine is available from the British Medical Journal.

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