Thank you for your Upfront article on practising evidence based medicine in last months Best Practice Journal. It was
pleasing to see the sacred cow of evidence based medicine revealed as a false idol. For too long we have kowtowed ourselves
to the practitioners of this cult. Although in the medical profession we see ourselves as honest and wise in our practice
we have been exposed as human after all.
The Emperors New Clothes fable has revisited us with bpac publishing this article. Hopefully it might help us pause
and ask what it is in human nature that allows the many to be persuaded by the few? History is rich in what it can teach
us in this regard. What safeguards might we use to prevent this happening again in medicine?
For me the answer lies in focusing on practising the Art of Medicine, on the surface quite the antithesis of Evidence
Based Medicine. However this is not so as the Art of Medicine encompasses both. The humanity of medical care is the major
part of the discipline with science an ingredient only.
Our professional ethos of care and beneficence is best served by practitioners who practise the art of medicine with
wisdom, humility, compassion and above all a healthy scepticism for new knowledge.
Ken Greer, GP, Wellington
Thanks for your comments Ken. Bpac strongly believes that clinicians should base their recommendations on the best
available evidence. To do this they need to be able to appraise the evidence for its strength and relevance for the
patient sitting in front of them and be alert for new evidence. We believe evidence-based medicine and patient-centred
medicine are two sides of the same coin.