Evidence and its uses in health care and research: The role of critical thinking
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Obtaining and critically appraising evidence is clearly not enough to make better decisions in clinical care. The evidence should be linked to the clinician's expertise, the patient's individual circumstances (including values and preferences), and clinical context and settings. We propose critical thinking and decision-making as the tools for making that link. Critical thinking is also called for in medical research and medical writing, especially where pre-canned methodologies are not enough. It is also involved in our exchanges of ideas at floor rounds, grand rounds and case discussions; our communications with patients and lay stakeholders in health care; and our writing of research papers, grant applications and grant reviews. Critical thinking is a learned process which benefits from teaching and guided practice like any discipline in health sciences. Training in critical thinking should be a part or a pre-requisite of the medical curriculum.
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