“Evidence-based” means “supported by scientific proof.” But why is that special? How is evidence-based medicine different from other approaches, how can it be used for health information – and what's in it for patients? Our information about evidence-based medicine at a glance:
What is evidence-based medicine?
Making the right medical decisions can sometimes be difficult, even for specialists: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a certain treatment or diagnostic test? Is it even necessary, and are there alternative options? Evidence-based medicine (EBM) looks for reliable answers to ensure that patients get the treatment that is best for them.
- What is evidence-based medicine?
- The basic principles of evidence-based medicine
- The history of evidence-based medicine
- Evidence-based medicine in Germany
Studies and research
Surely, every study leads to new and useful findings? Unfortunately, no: A lot of studies don’t provide any reliable information. But how do you know whether a study is any good? Why are randomized controlled trials so important, and what are systematic reviews needed for? What does EBM have to offer?
- Prevention, diagnosis, treatment: What is tested in evidence-based medicine?
- What types of studies are there?
- How is the quality of studies assessed?
- What are systematic reviews and meta-analyses?
- What are clinical practice guidelines?
- Can measurements show if a treatment works?
Making a decision
How can you weigh the pros and cons of different treatment options or diagnostic procedures, and then make the decision that is right for you? What information do you need, where can you find it, and who can help?
- Gathering information and making a decision
- The first step: Gathering information
- The second step: Evaluating information
- Decision aid
- How can InformedHealth.org help?
- Self-help groups and information centers
- List of questions for the doctor
Our methods and processes
We at InformedHealth.org would like to make the latest medical knowledge available to everyone. One question is at the forefront of all our work: What would patients, their families, friends and other people interested in our topics like to know about medical conditions and other health issues?
- Up-to-date medical knowledge
- Growing body of knowledge: The starting point
- Evidence: The cornerstone of our information
- Systematic searches
- Evaluating the evidence
- How our content is structured
- Quality assurance: Involvement of experts and patients
- Comments, praise and criticism
- Keeping our information up-to-date
IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping
people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health
Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.
Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.