All that glisters is not goldBMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7427.1315 (Published 04 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1315
- Tom E Love
- Tayside Centre for General Practice, University of Dundee
The “gold standard” is a pervasive metaphor in health research. Whether it is an argument about establishing a standard for quality of care or a debate about the relative merits of diagnostic investigations, the term is universally used to describe the best care, the best test, or the most certain medical knowledge. A Medline search on the phrase produces 7891 results.
But is it a good metaphor? The gold standard refers to …