This blog was founded more than four years ago with the a focus on one key idea: Today, there more research available than ever before. So we set out to help readers separate the good scientific information from the bad. One great resource for that is the systematic review.
Last week, we were fascinated to see a column in the New York Times by Weill Cornell Medical professor Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, an expert in infectious disease and the head the infection control program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. He wrote about how systematic reviews are impacting clinical practice.
Sepkowitz describes how the practice of evaluating and collating all of the data on a given topic is impacting the decisions doctors make on a daily basis.
“In 20 years, the field of evidence-based medicine has grown from a few true believers to an international movement in health care that touches countless patients every day,” he writes.
When doctors are debating the best treatment for a patient, the mention of a review from the Cochrane Collaboration will typically end the debate, he explains, because doctors are most likely to follow the review’s recommendation.
Sepkowitz points out the downsides of relying only on the evidence – that every patient is an individual with unique circumstances that require consideration. Still, he advocates for evidence-based medicine that is ethical and meticulous. His take-home message is a strong one: the systematic review is an important component in the medical decision-making process. We agree heartily.