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From science to practice 

From science to practice
From science to practice

John R. Geddes

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date: 01 July 2022

Clinicians need accurate and up-to-date information about emerging knowledge on assessment and treatment as well as other developments in practice. The presentation of this knowledge needs to be timely, accurate, and unbiased. In an ideal world, every psychiatrist would have instantaneous access to the original scientific articles. As this is not feasible because clinicians are busy and the skills needed for an adequate systematic search, critical appraisal, and interpretation of research articles are not routinely available. Further, the volume of research articles is staggering: about 2 million papers are published in 20 000 biomedical journals every year, and even if a psychiatrist restricted her reading to those clinical psychiatry journals it would be necessary to read about 5500 papers each year—equivalent to 15 papers every day. Clearly, a strategy is required for efficient and timely identification of research that is both methodologically sound and clinically relevant. A coherent set of strategies designed as a clinical tool to link the best available evidence directly to the care of individual patients was first formulated at McMaster University in Canada—an approach called evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine is problem-based and splits the process of linking research to practice into five stages (formulating a structured clinical question, finding evidence and advances in the organization of clinical knowledge, using a systematic approach to searching for the best available evidence, applying the evidence to the clinical problem, and assessing and improving the process) plus the identification of clinical questions in need of more research. To make evidence-based practice feasible in real-life clinical practice, a number of problems need to be solved at each stage of the process.

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