Consider the following clinical situations:

A 19-year-old woman comes home from college with an acute maxillary sinusitis. You just heard about treating this with a shorter 3-day course of antibiotics rather than the usual 10 days of prescribed treatment. You wonder whether you should try the shorter course with this patient.

A 44-year-old woman with recently diagnosed ovarian cancer presents to the emergency room with dyspnea and inspiratory chest discomfort. The ventilation-perfusion scan is read as “indeterminate.” The emergency room doctor asks your advice “now that embolism has been ruled out.”

A 69-year-old retired teacher returns for follow-up of congestive ...


  • 1 Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group. Evidence-based medicine: a new approach to teaching the practice of medicine. JAMA. 1992;268:2420-5. Google Scholar
  • 2 Rosenberg W, Donald A. Evidence-based medicine: an approach to clinical problem-solving. BMJ. 1995;310:1122-6. Google Scholar
  • 3 Oxman AD, Sackett DL, Guyatt GH, for the Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group. Users' guides to the medical literature: I. how to get started. JAMA. 1993;270:2093-5. Google Scholar
  • 4 Williams JW, Holleman DR, Samsa GP, Simel DL. Randomized controlled trial of 3 vs. 10 days of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for acute maxillary sinusitis. JAMA. 1995;273:1015-21. Google Scholar
  • 5 The PIOPED Investigators. Value of ventilation/perfusion scan in acute pulmonary embolism: results of the Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis (PIOPED). JAMA. 1990; 263: 2753-9. Google Scholar
  • 6 Ho KK, Anderson KM, Kannel WB, Grossman W, Levy D. Survival after the onset of congestive heart failure in Framingham Heart Study subjects. Circulation. 1993;88:107-15. Google Scholar
  • 7 Ely JW, Burch RJ, Vinson DC. The information needs of family physicians: case-specific clinical questions. J Fam Pract. 1992;35:265-9. Google Scholar
  • 8 Covell DG, Uman GC, Manning PR. Information needs in office practice: are they being met? Ann Intern Med. 1985;103:96-9. Google Scholar
  • 9 Gorman PN, Helfand M. Information seeking in primary care: how physicians choose which clinical questions to pursue and which to leave unanswered. Med Decis Making. 1995;15:113-9. Google Scholar
  • 10 Osheroff JA, Forsythe DE, Buchanan BG, Bankowitz RA, Blumenfeld BH, Miller RA. Physicians' information needs: analysis of questions posed during clinical teaching. Ann Intern Med. 1991;114:576-81. Google Scholar