Medliorate

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How to Use Medical Literature to Solve Patient Problems

Posted by medliorator on February 9, 2009

When using medical literature to solve patient problems and provide better care, consult this guide for appropriate use of an article dealing with therapeutic interventions and preventive interventions.

Table 1: Users’ Guides for an Article About Therapy

I. Are the results of the study valid?

  • Primary Guides:
    • Was the assignment of patients to treatments randomized?
    • Were all patients who entered the trial properly accounted for and attributed at its conclusion?
    • Was followup complete?
    • Were patients analyzed in the groups to which they were randomized?
  • Secondary Guides:
    • Were patients, health workers, and study personnel “blind” to treatment?
    • Were the groups similar at the start of the trial?
    • Aside from the experimental intervention, were the groups treated equally?

II. What were the results?

  • How large was the treatment effect?
  • How precise was the estimate of the treatment effect?

III. Will the results help me in caring for my patients?

  • Can the results be applied to my patient care?
  • Were all clinically important outcomes considered?
  • Are the likely treatment benefits worth the potential harms and costs?

How to Use an Article About Therapy or Prevention [Centre for Health Evidence]

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