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Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM)

A guide to evidence-based medicine resources in UVic Libraries.


Welcome to the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Research Guide at UVic Libraries

This guide aims to provide a basic introduction to the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) by bringing together available online resources and connecting you with relevant research and case materials. 

Click on the tabs on this page to uncover a basic overview of the term and detailed lists of accompanying resources. Each tab is comprised of the best sources for finding what you need.

If you've been searching and can't find what you're looking for, send an email to

We'd be happy to assist you do any of the following:

  • Help with literature searches and finding systematic reviews
  • Provide one-on-one advice about your research topic
  • Teach you advanced techniques for database searching
  • Assist you with setting up auto alerts for selected search strategies
  • Orient you to an array of library resources available through UVic Libraries
  • Teach you about citation management tools that can help format bibliographies

What is Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM)?

The most common definition of Evidence-Based Medicine is from Dr. David Sackett:

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research" (1996).

In order words, EBM integrates clinical experience and patient values with the best available research and aims to increase the use of high quality clinical research in clinical decision making.

This short video by Sketchy EBM gives a brief audio/visual explanation of EMB including an introduction to its potential limitations. 

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)

What is the difference between Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) and Evidence-based Practice (EBP)?

Historically, Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) primarily involved physicians who concentrated on diagnosis and treatment. Evidence-based Practice (EBP) takes a more multidisciplinary approach and includes many facets of healthcare including etiology and prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment. EMP also includes healthcare workers apart from the physician such as nurses, clinicians, and therapists. EMP is not just about using evidence to design treatment plans; it encourages a dialogue between patients and providers, so patients can share in the decision-making and make their values and preferences known. Together, patient and provider determine an appropriate course of action.The benefit of this approach is that providers listen to patient concerns and take them into consideration to determine the appropriate treatment plan (Woodbury & Kuhnke, 2014).

Although there are further more nuanced differences between EBM and EBP, students should know that these terms have broadly been used interchangeably and neither exists apart from the other.

Why is EBM Important?

Why is EBM important?

According to Lewis and Orland, "implementation of EBM in the managed care setting provides standards that have the potential to provide the best medical care at the lowest cost" (2004).

Furthermore, applying the knowledge gained from EBM:

  1. Promotes consistency of current treatment and optimal evidence-based protocols
  2. Helps establish national standards of patient care
  3. Sets criteria to measure and reward performance-based medical practice
  4. Improves transparency, accountability, and value
  5. Improves healthcare outcomes.


Works Cited

Lewis, S. J., & Orland, B. I. (2004). The importance and impact of evidence-based medicine. Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, 10(5 Suppl A), S3–S5.

Sackett, D. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 312(7023), 71–72. doi: 10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71

Woodbury, M.G.,& Kuhnke, J.L. (2014). Evidence-based practice vs.evidence-informed practice: what’s the difference? Wound Care Canada 14(1).

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