Quality e-Newsletter
Intelligence Unit Special Reports Special Events Subscribe Sponsored Departments Follow Us

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn RSS

Uncertainty is hard for doctors

The New York Times, June 7, 2013

As a group, doctors dislike ambiguity. We pride ourselves in the scientific girders of modern medicine. We are most comfortable when we are dispensing medical care to our patients that comes from a double-blind clinical trial, that fits into a validated clinical-prediction rule, that derives from an accepted algorithm and has "Level 1" evidence behind it. But very little of medicine falls into that absolute category. Many of our treatments haven't been rigorously studied, and even if they have, large swaths of the population are woefully underrepresented in clinical trials — the very old, the very sick, women, members of racial and ethnic minorities, children, pregnant women and those low on the socioeconomic scale.