“It took medicine a long time to realize that when a patient shows up with a headache, it’s much better to give him aspirin or recommend a good night sleep than do brain surgery, although the latter appears to be more ‘scientific.'”
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb
For the last 125 years or so, we’ve been told that Medicine and Science are one and the same. This is simply not true. While there was a need to develop efficiencies in medicine coming out of the 19th Century and into the 20th, the pendulum has swung too far and we seem to have forgotten the art of caring for patients. The art of medicine is built on the science of discovery. But both must be done, at the same time. This should go for all of medicine, especially for regenerative medicine.
There is great resistance to the practice of regenerative medicine from many in both academic and regulatory circles. And, somewhat ironically, resistance is also coming from some in the clinical sphere. There is the concern that there is not enough “evidence” yet to show which treatments are safe or effective, let alone good or bad.
The number of voices shouting that there is not enough “evidence” point to the need to follow the model of Evidence-Based Practice. We do not suggest to push science to the side, but to embrace it. Science is critical to advancing medicine. But it is not the only factor; we advocate that science is only one leg of a three legged stool for effectively and humanely treating patients. While science – the effort to better understand how the natural world works – is incredibly important, it takes an art to diagnose and develop a relationship with a patient.
Given the fact that the number one objective of any regenerative medicine platform should be to help the patient’s body to heal itself, using an evidence-based model is critical for both short- and long-term success.
To make sure we’re all on the same page, evidence-based practice has three principles:
- The best available research evidence bearing on whether and why a treatment works
- Clinical expertise (clinical judgement and experience) by the physician to identify each patient’s unique health state
- Patient preferences and values (having an understanding of the patient’s decision-making is incredibly important for the physician when helping the patient make choices and takes into account behavioral and psychological aspects as well)
In the practice – or art – of medicine, all three must be taken into consideration when developing a relationship with a patient while analyzing, diagnosing, and treating them. Otherwise it is simply a science experiment. And no human being wants to be a “guinea pig.”
The most effective treatments in medicine – let along Regenerative Medicine – will be done at the intersection of science, medicine, and business. Understanding how the three fit together are critical to helping patients navigate the complexities of regenerative medicine. (It’s also critical to moving from a “Provider” to a Physican and Medical Advisor.