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CMAJ. 2010 April 20; 182(7): 700.
PMCID: PMC2855924

Waiting for evidence?

Sumit R. Majumdar, MD MPH, Associate professor

The authors state electronic health records (with some decision support) will save lives and improve outcomes.1 Really? E-health has never consistently and demonstrably done either. Why should more information, alone, lead to better outcomes? Were physicians who did not quickly adopt thalidomide, rofecoxib, gastric freezing, or EC-IC bypass because of the lack of evidence for benefit and safety “dithering”? A conservative approach, weighing pros and cons, and watchful waiting for evidence of benefit without harms or unintended consequences should not be mistaken for dithering. I agree Canadians deserve nothing less than physicians who use proven effective interventions and technologies to help their patients feel better and live longer. Until e-health has proven itself safe, effective and affordable, maybe festina lente is rational: make haste, slowly.



1. McGrail K, Law M, Hébert PC. No more dithering on e-health: let's keep patients safe instead. CMAJ. 2010;182:535. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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