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Surprising Science

Medical Treatment Is No Science

Only a fraction of what physicians do is based on solid evidence from randomized, controlled trials; the rest is based instead on weak or no evidence and on subjective judgment.

Sanjaya Kumar, chief medical officer at Quantros, and David B. Nash, dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University, have penned a new book on America’s healthcare system and found that our absolute trust in the medical establishment may be misplaced. “Having limited clinical evidence for their decision-making is not the only gap in physicians’ scientific certainty. Physician judgment—the ‘art’ of medicine—inevitably comes into play, for better or for worse. Even physicians with the most advanced technical skills sometimes fail to achieve the highest quality outcomes for their patients.”


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