You may be hearing more talk about standardization in medicine these days. What does it mean and why is it important to everyone? People who are not in the medical field may worry that standardization will result in their care being less personalized and more “cookie-cutter.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
For several years, medical providers, healthcare administrators, healthcare quality experts and others have been talking about improving medical care and health outcomes through increased use of data and standardization. The term “evidence based medicine” is used to indicate that medical recommendations and decisions are based, to the extent possible, on data – rather than just doing things because they have always been done that way.
Data can be obtained through clinical trials (where patients are randomized to various treatments and then the outcomes are compared), observation (where the outcomes of various treatments are analyzed to see which are more effective), or expert opinion (where experts in the field agree on best treatments based on experience or “best practices”).
Standardization means that patients will be offered treatment based on the best available knowledge. Those treatment recommendations are also influenced by the patient’s individual situation, so that care is personalized.
For breast cancer patients, this may be evident in various ways. We know that ...