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Assessing all the relevant, reliable evidence

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Key points

  • A single study rarely provides enough evidence to guide treatment choices in healthcare
  • Assessments of the relative merits of alternative treatments should be based on systematic reviews of all the relevant, reliable evidence
  • As in individual studies testing treatments, steps must be taken to reduce the misleading influences of biases and the play of chance
  • Failure to take account of the findings of systematic reviews has resulted in avoidable harm to patients, and wasted resources in healthcare and research.
  • Read more: Is one study ever enough?