A recent study by researchers at Columbia University uncovered what many women have suspected for years, that the clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology (Ob/Gyn) is steeped in tradition and opinion but lacks data and evidence. The study, Scientific Evidence Underlying the American College of Obstetricians’ and Gynecologists’ Practice Guidelines authored by Dr. Jason D. Wright and colleagues found that only 30% of Ob/Gyn clinical practice guidelines were based on hard data or scientific evidence. Rather, the vast majority of practice guidelines (70%) were based on observational studies, consensus or expert opinion. Perhaps this is why it takes 5-10 years to diagnose common Gyn conditions, why oral contraceptives are the first line of treatment for every women’s health conditions or why most pregnancy complications are still, in the 21st century, considered idiopathic. Without data, it sure is difficult to sway expert opinion. What do you think?
Link to the press release: Ob/gyn Guidelines Often Based Opinion Weak Data
Wright JD, et al. Scientific Evidence Underlying the American College of Obstetricians’ and Gynecologists’ Practice Guidelines. Online in press version, September 2011, Obstetrics and Gynecology 118 (3).