By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is called quality, and the definition from the Institute of Medicine is the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.

When I explain it to my patients, I tell them it is your doctor trying to do the best job possible.

One of the biggest steps to achieving that goal is what we call evidence-based medicine. For decades doctors base their decisions on what seemed to work in their own practice and by and large that is not a bad idea. But now that we have so much more data to work with we can take our ideas as physicians and compare them against what other physicians are doing around the country. We can look at studies and see the way certain types of treatment work in large numbers of people.

It only makes sense that the combination of what one doctor does and thousands of others do makes for stronger care. There is nothing that will replace the individual physician’s judgment but there’s also nothing wrong with taking advantage of what many have to say.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio

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