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Evidence-based medicine combines the individual doctor's expertise, the best available external evidence and the patient's preferences when making decisions about the patient's health care.
The doctor's expertise is the skill and judgment, based on experience, which lead to better diagnosis and a more compassionate understanding of the patient's predicaments, rights and preferences when making clinical decisions.
The external evidence includes research from the basic sciences and, in particular, patient-centred clinical research into the accuracy of diagnostic tests (including the clinical examination), the markers used for making prognoses and the effectiveness and safety of treatments, whether for therapy, prevention or rehabilitation. The external clinical evidence may invalidate previously accepted tests and treatments and replace them with new ones that are more powerful, accurate, effective and safe.