This book focuses mainly on reasoning, critical thinking and pragmatic decision-making in medicine.
Modern medicine does not revolve exclusively around new technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging, robotized microsurgery, genetic mapping or cloning of living organisms. Modern medicine also requires structured reasoning in an increasingly complex world of uncertainty and incomplete information of unequal quality. As such, this book outlines how to make the best possible crucial decisions in clinical care, disease prevention and health promotion.
Learning medicine not only involves memorizing a considerable volume of information, mastering sensory skills and communicating with patients and health professionals. It also requires excellent reasoning techniques, processing of information through sensory skills, judging the state of things, and decision-making. Classical textbooks of medicine or surgery examine mainly the former. This book covers the latter.
This book is intended primarily for young and less young physicians, as well as other health professionals from the fields of dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, clinical nutrition, psychology, and health administration who want to acquire the fundamental information needed to better understand and ultimately practice evidence-based medicine. It is also intended to help in the critical reading of medical literature and in the understanding of messages and reasoning of health professionals, planners and decision-makers. Experienced clinicians from various specialties who teach in-house staff with various levels of experience will want to refer to it to show their students how to reason and translate their experience into bedside decision-oriented research. Residents in specialty training programs around the world are becoming increasingly involved in medical research and want to understand its workings. Many of them learnt just enough epidemiology and other fundamentals years ago to pass their exams and their clinical guides did not always offer appropriate learning experiences. Hence, the fundamentals of epidemiology and other disciplines on which evidence-based medicine is based today are covered in this reading to the obvious benefit of medical undergraduates at exam time. However, the primary focus of this book is on medical and biological thinking and decisions endorsed only after the application of relevant quantitative methods and techniques.
Medical students will learn about evidence-based medicine at a later date and in greater detail. Before that, they must master the essentials of fundamental and clinical epidemiology and of logical thinking in medicine. Their final and licensure examinations will cover not only principles of evidence-based medicine, but also the basics of epidemiology and preventive or community medicine. This reading should help them succeed. Does this book follow current courses of epidemiology and other related disciplines? It does, but not entirely. In fact, it serves a kind of propaedeutics to reasoning and decision-making in health sciences practice and research. Many graduates and fully qualified health professionals wanting to refresh their knowledge of the foundations of evidence-based medicine such as epidemiology and clinical epidemiology will hopefully find this book a useful transition from the basic sciences of reasoning and measurement in medicine to their practice in today's evidence-based world. Most readers of this book will become family physicians or clinicians in various specialties. Some will even embrace epidemiology, community medicine or public health. Whatever career path is chosen, we all need the solid