Only one in ten medical treatments are backed by high-quality evidence

When you visit your doctor, you might assume that the treatment they prescribe has solid evidence to back it up. But you’d be wrong. Only one in ten medical treatments are supported by high-quality evidence, our latest research shows.

The analysis, which is published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, included 154 Cochrane systematic reviews published between 2015 and 2019. Only 15 (9.9%) had high-quality evidence according to the gold-standard method for determining whether they provide high or low-quality evidence, called GRADE (grading of recommendations, assessment, development and evaluation). Among these, only two had statistically significant results – meaning that the results were unlikely to have arisen due to random error – and were believed by the review authors to be useful in clinical practice. Using the same system, 37% had moderate, 31% had low, and 22% had very low-quality evidence.

The 154 studies were chosen because they were updates of a previous review of 608 systematic reviews, conducted in 2016. This allows us to check whether reviews that had been updated with new evidence had higher-quality evidence. They didn’t. In the 2016 study, 13.5% reported that treatments were supported by high-quality evidence, so there was a trend towards lower quality as more evidence was gathered.

theconversation Only one in ten medical treatments are backed by high-quality evidence

AGR; Garbage in equals garbage out, but due to HIGH PROFIT, this garbage in and garbage out process is accelerating.