Medical guidelines that embrace the humility of uncertainty could help doctors choose treatments with more research evidence behind them

Clinical guidelines greatly influence how doctors care for their patients. By providing recommendations on how to diagnose and treat particular situations, guidelines can help standardize the care patients receive. For instance, when a patient is suffering from an infection, a physician can consult the relevant guidelines to confirm that antibiotics are the appropriate treatment. Regulators, insurance payers and lawyers can also use guidelines to manage a doctor’s performance, or as evidence in malpractice cases. Often, guidelines compel doctors to provide care in specific ways.

We are physicians who share a common frustration with guidelines based on weak or no evidence. We wanted to create a new approach to medical guidelines built around the humility of uncertainty, in which…

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