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Keywords:

  • decision making;
  • evidence-based medicine;
  • health policy;
  • preferences

Abstract

Rationale  Evidence-based medicine is being applied to decisions in a range of contexts beyond one-to-one patient care. Yet considerable disagreement persists regarding the defining components of evidence-based decision-making, particularly in institutional and public health contexts.

Aims and Objectives  This article reviews the key elements of evidence-based decision-making for clinical medicine, and adapts those key elements and argues for their broad applicability to a variety of decision-making contexts including institutional, public health, and self-care decision-making contexts.

Methods  Conceptual Analysis.

Results  Evidence based decision-making involves research evidence, “social and institutional circumstances”, and “values” of stakeholders. Furthermore, evidence-based decision-making includes “judgment” exercised by experts to appropriately weigh and integrate the various decision-making elements.

Conclusion  Asking critical questions about the purposes and context of a specific decision, basic principles of evidence-based reasoning can be appropriately applied beyond the bedside.