Mediocre Evidence Behind Many Primary Care Decisions
Written by editor   
Sunday, July 09, 2017 02:48 PM

Research-based evidence to help primary care physicians make decisions seems to be hard to come by, according to research from the University of Georgia.  

Researchers analyzed 721 topics from an online medical reference for generalists and found that only 18% of the clinical recommendations were based on high-quality, patient-oriented evidence. "The research done in the primary care setting, which is where most outpatients are seen, is woefully underfunded, and that's part of the reason why there's such a large number of recommendations that are not based on the highest level of evidence." 

They found that topics related to pregnancy and childbirth, cardiovascular health, and psychiatry had the highest percentage of recommendations backed by research-based evidence. Hematological, musculoskeletal and rheumatological, and poisoning and toxicity topics had the lowest percentage.

In addition, just 51% of the recommendations overall were based on studies reporting patient-oriented outcomes, such as morbidity, mortality, quality of life, or symptom reduction, instead of laboratory markers like blood sugar or cholesterol levels.