McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster development in top 10 medical milestones

Published: January 18 , 2007

The concept of evidenced-based medicine developed by McMaster University researchers placed 8th in The British Medical Journal’s readers’ poll on the world’s most important medical achievements since 1840.

More than 11,300 respondents registered their choice for the top medical achievement in the on-line poll conducted from Jan. 5 to Jan. 14. Sanitation (clean water and sewage) earned the most votes receiving 1,795, or 15.8 per cent of those who logged on to the BMJ website to register their views. Evidenced-based medicine received 636 votes, or 5.6 per cent.

Respondents had 15 choices in the poll, including medical milestones such as the introduction of antibiotics and vaccines and the development of anesthesia.

Evidenced-based medicine is the phrase describing the approach which involves conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence for patient care. It relies on sound, objective, science-based evaluation, placing the highest value on the most provable and useful information available.

The phrase was coined more than 20 years ago, after various leaders in the Faculty of Health Sciences worked to develop better methods for tracing and evaluating medical evidence.

The pre-eminent BMJ, which publishes weekly in the United Kingdom, decided to look back at the most important medical milestones since it was first published in 1840, as part of the relaunch of its print and online versions. Readers nominated milestones, then a panel of editors and advisers narrowed the field to 15 from an initial 70.

The complete list of results is available at

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