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In the last twenty years the term “Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)” has spread into all areas of medicine and is often used for decision-making in the medical and public health sector. It is also used to verify the significance and/or the effectiveness of different therapies. The definition of EBM is to use the physician’s individual expertise, the patient’s needs and the best external evidence for each individual patient. Today, however, the term EBM is often wrongly used as a synonym for best “external evidence”. This leads not only to a misuse of evidence based medicine but suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the model which was created by Gordon Guyatt, David Sackett and Archibald Cochrane. This problem becomes even greater the more social insurance institutions, public healthcare providers and politicians use external evidence alone as a main guideline for financing therapies in physical medicine and general rehabilitation without taking into account the physician’s expertise and the patient’s needs.The wrong interpretation of EBM can lead to the following problems: well established clinical therapies are either questioned or not granted and are therefore withheld from patients (for example physical pain management). Absence of evidence for individual therapy methods does not prove their ineffectiveness! In this short statement the significance of EBM in physical medicine and general rehabilitation will be analysed and discussed.
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