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How To Survive the Medical Misinformation Mess

In this article, John P. A. Ioannidis and colleagues discuss the problem of having much unreliable and non-useful published medical research. They argue that most physicians and other healthcare professionals are unaware of the pervasiveness of poor quality clinical evidence that contributes considerably to overuse, underuse, avoidable adverse events, missed opportunities for right care and wasted healthcare resources. The authors identified four key issues leading to the ‘Medical Misinformation Mess’: First, much published medical research is not reliable or is of uncertain reliability, offers no benefit to patients, or is not useful to decision makers. Second, most healthcare professionals are not aware of this problem. Third, they also lack the skills necessary to evaluate the reliability and usefulness of medical evidence. Finally, patients and families frequently lack relevant, accurate medical evidence and skilled guidance at the time of medical decision-making.
Therefore, efforts should focus on making healthcare professionals more sensitive to the limitations of the evidence, training them to do critical appraisal, and enhancing their communication skills so that they can effectively summarize and discuss medical evidence to improve decision-making.
Similar efforts may need to be developed also for the pre-clinical biomedical research area as insufficient quality as well as low reproducibility of data and findings are certainly issues not restricted to clinical studies.

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