Friday, March 08, 2019

Annals article on EBM and machine learning makes huge category errors

From the beginning of the paper:

Machine learning (ML), which converts complex data into algorithms, challenges the traditional epidemiologic approach of evidence-based medicine (EBM). Here I outline the differences, strengths, and limitations of these 2 approaches and suggest areas of reconciliation.

Beginning in the 1970s, scientists extolled the virtues of EBM's hypothesis-driven, protocolized experiments involving well-defined populations and preselected exposure and outcome variables. Inferences were made using traditional biostatistics.

First, EBM wasn’t around in the 70’s.  It started, as a movement, in 1992.  Second, EBM is not a method of research.   It is, rather, a system of approaching the clinical care of individual patients.  One patient at a time.  The rest of the article is equally confusing.

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