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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something” – asking questions and searching for answers – the evidence based approach


Evidence based medicine (EBM) consists of four separate processes.

  1. Asking a clinical question

  2. Locating the evidence

  3. Appraising and synthesizing the evidence

  4. Applying the evidence

Most people are familiar with the third step but not so familiar with the first two.

Well-designed clinical questions can help clarify in a clinicians mind exactly what information is being sought and also help with the search. This clinical question can be framed around the PICO format.

With a well-structured PICO information can then be located in a timely manner using the concept of Haynes's 5 S's and a range of websites including trial registers and meta-search engines.

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