When you need medical help, your doctor and other health care providers may be faced with difficult decisions and considerable uncertainty. So they rely on the scientific literature in addition to their own knowledge, experience, and patient preferences to inform these decisions.
And they also consider clinical practice guidelines, which are published recommendations intended to optimize patient care. But in a New York Times piece last month, Ronen Avraham, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, observed that these clinical practice guidelines often conflict with one another.
Recommendations for when and how frequently women need mammograms, for instance, notoriously vary depending on which group is giving them. Continue reading