Evidence Based Health Care

Library of the Health Sciences


In which individual patient’s characteristics are automatically linked to the current best evidence that matches his or her specific circumstances and the clinician is provided with key aspects of management. Example: electronic medical records systems that incorporate computerized decision support.


Summaries integrate the best available evidence from the lower layers to develop practice guidelines based on a full range of evidence.

Current evidence-based clinical practice guidelines:

Practice guidelines present directions or principles presenting current or future rules of policy for assisting health care practitioners in patient care decisions regarding diagnosis, therapy, or related clinical circumstances. The guidelines may be developed by government agencies at any level, institutions, professional societies, governing boards, or by the convening of expert panels.

Synopses of Syntheses

Synopses of syntheses are summaries of the findings of syntheses (i.e. a high-quality systematic review) and are found in evidence-based abstraction journals.


Syntheses are high-quality systematic reviews (i.e. a comprehensive summary of all the research evidence related to a focused clinical question).

Synopses of Studies

Synopses of studies provide a brief, but often sufficiently detailed, summary of a high-quality study that can inform clinical practice.

Studies (or Primary Literature)

The final S refers to individual studies, which you need to appraise yourself.

Journals (Secondary Literature Focus)

The secondary literature, as it relates to evidence based health care, is the literature that has filtered and synthesized the existing research.  These journals provide synthesis of existing research.

The following journals are available to students, staff and faculty of the University of North Dakota's School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  To access these resources you MUST first be logged in on the Library web site.

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This page is based off of Ann Intern Med. 2009;151(6):JC3-2. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-151-6-200909150-02002.