Interpreting journal articles: Practical tips for urologists

November 1, 2007

Whether he or she practices in a community or an academic setting, every urologist is faced with the routine challenge of sifting through a myriad of scientific articles each month.

What is evidence-based medicine?

One caveat: The application of EBM never takes place outside the context of an individual patient and his or her particular situation and, likewise, is never meant to be a substitute for sound clinical judgment. Instead, it should be viewed as melding judgment with best available evidence. The criticism that EBM is cookie-cutter medicine is contrary to the very definition of EBM.

Methodology of EBM

The EBM approach to critically appraising an article that relates to therapy involves a three-step process that addresses the following questions, in order:

Issues of randomization

Were the patients randomized? "Apples should be compared with apples and oranges should be compared with oranges." This adage is the basis and rationale for randomization.

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