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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 13(2); 2004 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2004;13(2): 335-346.
근거중심 의학의 철학
Philosophical background of Evidence-based medicine
Sang Ok Kwon
Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Education Unit Yonsei Univesity Wonju College of Medicine, Korea.
Through the whole history of medicine, there runs a long struggle between two principal tendencies-empiricism and rationalism. The empirical trend lays its emphasis on "experience" for the cure of the sick. The rationalistic trend lays its main emphasis on "mechanism" for the causes of diseases. The term "evidence-based medicine (EBM) ", defined as "the conscious, explicit and judicious use of the best current evidence in making decisions about the individual patients", was introduced about ten years ago. The proponents has been described EBM as a "paradigm shift" that will change medical practice in the years ahead. But there has been considerable debate about the value of EBM. The modern medicine, following philosophy of modern science such as the 'realism controlled by empiricism', has developed biomedical model. But the EBM wrapped with clinical epidemiology and statistics, represents response of empiricism to the rationalism (realism). The roots of EBM extend back at least as far as the Paris clinical school, and the work of Pierre Louis in Paris in the early 19th century. Is EBM a paradigm shift? To answer this question, We have to specify the alternative with which we are comparing EBM. The alternative to EBM is the basic science approach: studying the pathophysiolological mechanism of the body. But EBM is so clearly intertwined with and complementary to the basic science that it would make little sense to see EBM as a paradigm shift away from basic science. In a sense, evidence-based medicine shows only methodological contribution aimed at improving the gathering and sorting of the best information published by biomedical scientists and clinical epidemiologists for use in clinical practice. Although EBM and the traditional medicine embody different approaches, this does not mean that they are competitors. In fact, the two approach need each; neither can stand alone for the development of clinical practice.
Key Words: evidence-based medicine, empiricism, realism controlled by empiricism, paradigm shift
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