Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Does this work for you?

Individuals, averages, and evidence based medicine

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 19 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2585
  1. Andrew Moore, senior research fellow1,
  2. Sebastian Straube, academic foundation year 2 doctor1,
  3. Sheena Derry, research associate1,
  4. Henry McQuay, Nuffield professor of clinical anaesthetics1
  1. 1Pain Research and Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU
  1. andrew.moore{at}

    In asking “Does this work for you?”1 Christakis finds the heart of evidence based medicine—“the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.”2 The individual approach can also reconcile clinical trial results with the demands of clinical practice: “managers and trialists may be happy for treatments to work on average; patients expect their doctors to do better than that.”3

    That not all patients …

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