Dr. Godwin and Dr. Fan’s article “Evidence based medicine skills for acupuncturist part I: The Hinman Trial on Chronic Knee Pain and the Importance of Critical Appraisal Skills.” was published recently in Journal of American Acupuncture 2015;71 (Summer): 22-29.(For the PDF file, please click the link below)
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) skills are critical to clinical effectiveness and to developing and maintaining an effective intellectual ecosystem of clinicians, researchers, policy-makers, and academics. One important competency within the evidence-based medicine paradigm is the ability to appraise research papers critically. The authors first discuss the value of research literacy among acupuncturists and then demonstrate the importance of this skill by critically appraising a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on chronic knee pain published by Hinman et al. in
The Journal of the American Medical Association
(JAMA) in 2014.
Keywords: evidence-based medicine, Hinman trial, acupuncture, research literacy, acupuncture competencies
“ Research literacy is one of the most important issues facing the acupuncture profession in the United States and is a critical competency for all healthcare providers operating under a scientific evidence-based paradigm.”
“ From 2000 to 2006, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, or NCCIH), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provided R25 funding to nine Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) colleges to develop EBM programs. That the NIH is funding programs to improve EBM skills demonstrates how important these skills are in modern healthcare.”
“ No trial can conclude ‘acupuncture is ineffective’ for any condition. A trial can only demonstrate the efficacy of a particular acupuncture procedure. A trial tests a tightly controlled procedure, not an entire therapeutic intervention.”
“ The contemporary acupuncturist must have the skills to retrieve, critically appraise, and apply to his or her patients’ conditions the very best evidence available. Developing the skills demonstrated in this paper and by the many experts active in acupuncture research should be a priority for any clinician practicing acupuncture.”
The ability to critically appraise acupuncture research is crucial to the concept of fidelity described earlier. Patients, payers, regulatory agencies, and the public assume that clinicians are delivering the best available care based on the latest and highest-quality evidence. The contemporary acupuncturist must have the skills to retrieve, critically appraise, and apply to his or her patients’ conditions the very best evidence available. Developing the skills demonstrated in this paper and by the many experts active in acupuncture research should be a priority for any clinician practicing acupuncture.