Internal medicine, complexity, evidence based medicine, almost ‘‘without evidences’’

  • Roberto Nardi |
  • Tatiana Fabbri
  • Gelorma Belmonte
  • Paolo Leandri
  • Magda Mazzetti
  • Angelo Pasquale
  • Massimo Reta
  • Claudia Rizzi
  • Giovanni Scanelli
  • Ido Iori
  • Gualberto Gussoni
  • Claudio Pedace
  • Giovanni Mathieu
  • Antonino Mazzone


Background: Internal medicine has been defined as the specialty of the adult medical complex patients. Complexity science suggests that illness (and health) results from complex, dynamic, and unique interactions between different components of the overall system. In a patient, complexity involves the intricate entanglement of two or more systems (e.g.; body-diseases, family, socioeconomic status, therapies).
Aim of the study: To evaluate the real applicability of Evidence Based Medicne (EBM) in clinical Departments of Internal Medicine and its critical perspectives.
Discussion: Habitually the internist takes decisions in these situations: a) certainty (the ideal decision is adopted and the corresponding strategy follows), b) risk (the more suitable alternative selected can be the determination of the probable value or mathematical hope) and c) uncertainty, in which decisions linked to triple agents: beliefs and personal values of the doctors (I) for their patients (II) in the society (III). In the medical decisions there are often different factors that go beyond the field of technical and scientific knowledge (family, social, economic problems, etc.) and demanding an ethical analysis of the decision.
Conclusions: The ‘‘evidence-based medicine’’, as other models of care, has — in itself — some limitations. ‘‘No evidence in medicine’’ matters that the postulates of the EBM are not always applicable to the real patients of Internal Medicine wards, mostly elderly, frail, complex, with comorbidities and polipharmacy, often with cognitive dysfunction and limitation of autonomy, with psycho-emotional, social and economic problems. The interacting effects of overall involved diseases/factors and their management require more complex and individualised care than simply the sum of separate guideline components. Further innovation is required to resolve the need to enhance integration of evidence with our patients’ values at the ‘‘bedside and/or clinic’’ management.



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Evidence based medicine, Internal medicine.
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How to Cite
Nardi, R., Fabbri, T., Belmonte, G., Leandri, P., Mazzetti, M., Pasquale, A., Reta, M., Rizzi, C., Scanelli, G., Iori, I., Gussoni, G., Pedace, C., Mathieu, G., & Mazzone, A. (2013). Internal medicine, complexity, evidence based medicine, almost ‘‘without evidences’’. Italian Journal of Medicine, 3(4), 191-200.

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