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Mapping similarities and differences to progress mutual understanding and dialogue: A comparison and contrast of evidence-based practice and person-centered healthcare

James Marcum


Evidence-based practice and person-centered healthcare are often seen as opposing approaches to clinical practice. And yet both offer advantages to providing quality healthcare. In this paper, both approaches to clinical practice are analyzed and mapped philosophically by comparing and contrasting their key foundational principles. The goal is to progress the dialogue between them in order to determine whether a common ground exists in which they might be integrated and how best to operationalize, both clinically and pedagogically, an integrated approach. To that end, key principles undergirding them are enumerated and then integrated by shifting the focus from evidence to the person - whether patient or clinician - for the delivery of quality healthcare. In this way, person-centered healthcare provides the optimal starting point for framing evidence-based practice. Next, operationalizing the integrated approach to clinical practice and medical education is addressed. Finally, the root of modern healthcare must be a person’s, whether patient’s or clinician’s, dignity. For the goal of healthcare is to relieve suffering associated with illness, whether that involves curing a disease or not and not adding to the suffering associated with illness.


Caring, clinical encounter, clinical practice, dignity, evidence-based practice, GRADE, integration, person-centered healthcare, personhood, philosophical basis, preferences, quality healthcare, suffering, values

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