Evidence-Based Medicine: Feminist Criticisms and Implications for Women's Health

Merone, Lea, Tsey, Komla, Russell, Darren, Daltry, Andrew, and Nagle, Cate (2022) Evidence-Based Medicine: Feminist Criticisms and Implications for Women's Health. Women's Health Reports, 3 (1). pp. 844-849.

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Evidence-based medicine (EBM) dates back to 19th-century Paris and started out as a new paradigm for practicing medicine, with the aim of replacing anecdote with high-quality evidence from positivist-style research. Despite the clear logic underpinning EBM, there have been numerous criticisms, including maintenance of an archaic view of evidence as "facts," failure to acknowledge that all research is underpinned by the beliefs of the researcher, and the simple fact that medical research has historically been androcentric and results generalized to female patients. In this essay, we discuss the criticisms of EBM, with a focus on feminist critiques based on three central feminist epistemologies: feminist empiricism, standpoint theory, and social constructivism. We argue that EBM potentially perpetuates gaps in women's health and advocate for incorporating feminist epistemologies into future medical research to garner further understanding of social influences on women's health. In addition, we argue that EBM may degrade the clinical acumen and that critical thinking should become a key component of medical school curricula.

"To question the foundations of a discipline or practice is not necessarily to deny its value, but rather to stimulate a judicious and balanced appraisal of its merits."1

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) started out as a new paradigm for practicing medicine, replacing theoretical reasoning and anecdote with evidence from high-quality studies.2 From the outset, critics have expressed concerns that methods for gathering evidence are flawed and questioned the external validity of studies gathering information from groups of people and applying them to the individual.3 In this study, we will review the conceptual background of EBM, discuss some of the general criticisms of EBM, and finally critique EBM from a feminist perspective.

Item ID: 77814
Item Type: Article (Editorial)
ISSN: 2688-4844
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Copyright Information: This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License [CC-BY] ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2023 23:39
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health @ 100%
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