Because of the internet, an overwhelming amount of information on any health topic is at your fingertips. Due to the sheer volume of information, it can be difficult to know who to trust and what to believe.
This is where health practitioners can and should help. Your health practitioner should stay up to date with research so that they can provide you with the best care possible.
However, the reality is that some practitioners rely too heavily on their own clinical experience.
Personal experience forms only one part of the totality of evidence and thus, shouldn’t be the sole basis of clinical assessment and treatment.
Personal experience is valuable but it’s often biased, for example, we have a tendency to see what we want to see. Well-conducted research studies minimise the risk of bias.
Evidence is always changing as we gain more research: what we once learnt, believed or practised may no longer be ‘correct’.
As a patient, you deserve more than one clinician’s personal experience in isolation.
Clinicians can be wrong sometimes.
If your health practitioner is practising the same way as they did years ago, then there may be a problem there. As evidence changes, how clinicians practise should too.
Always be curious and ask your clinician for their reasoning behind things they say and do—it’s good for you (you receive better care) and it’s good for them (you challenge them to be better).
- Research Scene Vector.svg from Wikimedia Commons by Videoplasty.com, CC-BY-SA 4.0