Before I went to medical school, I studied biology in college and did laboratory research. One of the reasons I went into medicine was that I liked science but like most doctors, I didn’t understand the science as well as I thought I did. The scientific literature – the studies that have been done to figure out which treatments work and which ones don’t – is what we call the evidence.
In many ways, the evidence is the most challenging part of the Care Triad.
During my medical training, I remember reading individual scientific papers and doing exactly what they said. That approach may be OK when there is only one study that has been done to look at a particular treatment. But once there are many studies available, you need to look at all of them and figure out what the totality of the research is saying. You might look at one study that says a particular treatment works but there may be 9 other studies that say the same treatment is useless. Focusing on one study is called “cherry picking” and lots of doctors do it without realizing it.