John F. Steiner, MD, MPH
Steiner JF. Talking about Treatment: The Language of Populations and the Language of Individuals. Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:618-622. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-130-7-199904060-00029
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;130(7):618-622.
In recent years, clinical decisions about treatment have been increasingly guided by the findings of randomized clinical trials. These trials use the strongest type of study design for treatment assessment. They offer the best approach to reducing bias and balancing the distribution of known or unknown patient attributes that could threaten the internal validity of the study (1). The quantitative measures of risk reduction used to report randomized clinical trials describe the collective experience of the participants in the trial. To apply the results of such trials in clinical practice, physicians must translate the concepts and measures used to describe groups of patients into a language that can inform the decisions of an individual patient. A clinical vignette illustrates the tensions inherent in this process of translation.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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