Medical interventions and their poor scientific backup: A threat to Evidence-Based Medicine
Author(s): Abhinav Vitthalrao Pathare
Abstract: In order to support Evidence-Based Medicine, critically evaluating the scientific basis of contemporary medical interventions is crucial. The significant scarcity of scientific backup for most medical interventions, however, poses a marked threat to Evidence-Based Medicine. This article explores the extent of this issue and its effects on healthcare. This article suggests that most contemporary medical interventions lack a scientific backup. Although there is counterevidence suggesting that most medical interventions are backed with solid evidence, the results of this counterevidence (study) can only be inferred in the settings where this study was conducted, questioning its generalisability. Furthermore, this article delves into the information-seeking behaviours of doctors. Over journal articles, which are the cornerstone of Evidence-Based Medicine, doctors favour textbooks and personal contacts. Relying on textbooks may not be the best choice as they may not necessarily be updated with the latest research, leading to outdated recommendations. Personal opinions obtained through personal contacts are also unreliable sources of information. When doctors search for health information inefficiently and choose treatments unsupported by evidence, it can have severe consequences for public health and put patients at risk. Therefore, to encourage doctors to root their interventions in the best available evidence, urgent measures are required to enhance the research paper reading literacy skills of doctors. This article suggests that encouraging research-related training and education in the medical syllabus and continuing education activities is vital. Improving doctors' skills in reading and evaluating research papers can lead to increased interest in medical literature and more reliable decision-making based on the most trustworthy evidence. Moreover, this article suggests that, even for experienced researchers, reading a research paper can be difficult due to the complex language and terminologies. Therefore, journal article authors should consider using more straightforward language, providing plain language summaries, visual aids like graphs and videos, and graphical abstracts. This way, doctors can understand research findings and easily incorporate them into practice. At last, this article provides an important note that collaboration among interdisciplinary professionals (researchers, doctors, allied health professionals, and educators) and other relevant stakeholders (policymakers, syllabus designers, and decision-makers) is crucial for promoting Evidence-Based Medicine.