Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David L. Katz
Clinical epidemiology is the application of the methods and principles of epidemiology, which is focused on population health, to the practice of clinical medicine, which is focused on the health of particular individuals. Modern medical practice should at all times be predicated on the best available scientific evidence. But at no time is there, in fact, any scientific evidence that pertains directly and reliably to a particular, individual patient. Rather, scientific evidence is derived from the past experience of other patients, or of subjects in clinical trials of various design. The relative correspondence between the one patient now receiving care and the many patients or subjects from whom scientific evidence has been derived is therefore an assessment prerequisite to clinical decisions, and an interface where science in medicine must inescapably collide with judgment. Clinical epidemiology is both a philosophical approach to medical decision making and a collection of tools and ...