Evidence-based medicine (EBM), which emphasizes that medical decisions must be based on the most recent best evidence, is gaining popularity. Individual clinical expertise is combined with the best available external clinical evidence derived from systematic research in the practice of EBM. The key and core of EBM is the hierarchical system for categorizing evidence. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) system divides evidence quality into four categories: high, moderate, low, and very low. GRADE is based on the lowest quality of evidence for any of the outcomes that are critical to making a decision, reducing the risk of mislabeling the overall evidence quality, when evidence for a critical outcome is lacking. This principle is also used in acupuncture as a complementary and integrative treatment modality, but incorporating scientific evidence is more difficult due to a number of factors. The goal of this chapter is to discuss how to establish a clinical evidence system for acupuncture, with a focus on the current quality of evidence for a variety of conditions or diseases.
Part of the book: Complementary Therapies