The principles of EBM are founded upon the premise that medical knowledge grows at a faster rate than health care providers can absorb. To resolve this dilemma, the principles of EBM seek to concentrate the salient points from medical research, via systematic review and meta-analyses, into a more easily accessible format for health care providers with a scarcity of time.
To achieve the goals of EBM, the medical evidence must be evaluated. This evaluation is primarily based upon research study design parameters (population size, types of controls, analytic methodologies, etc.). The randomized-controlled trial is considered to yield the strongest evidence within medical research.
There exists a recognized delay between the time that medical research discovers a profound truth to the time this truth is actually applied within the clinical environment. The lag has been reported as up to 7 years. The reasons for this delay range from the systemic to the philosophical. Even with a summary of relevant research, many providers are still unable to allocate the necessary time to acquire and implement this knowledge. Some providers discount the entire premise of EBM. It is likely that some combination of time-constraints and knowledge management primarily contribute to this lag time.
EBM is awash in opportunities for Healthcare Information Technology solutions. Pattern-recognition and algorithm management are IT tools that may dramatically improve the collection of evidence and the application of consistent, high-quality health care services. A serious evaluation of where and how HIT can be inserted into the process of medical knowledge acquisition and application is urgently needed, as of 04/19/2006.