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Problems of evaluating health care arise partly from the amorphous nature of health itself. Using a method which allows a wide range of clinical information to be analysed in fine detail, the relative efficacy of antibiotics in the treatment of cough is explored, as well as some benzodiazepines, in the treatment of anxiety.
Results are presented in terms of percentages of patients whose target symptoms were treated with the drug stated, and who returned or whose symptoms returned after an interval of time. The breadth of the system allows other paramedical factors to be evaluated in the increasingly important impact that the wider social malaise has on medical practice.