Evidence-based medicine (EBM) and personalized medicine (PM) are two multifaceted approaches with critical consequences for modern medicine regarding medical evidence and clinical decision-making. Each movement encompasses a specific understanding of perfect medicine, including recommendations for clinical practices to reach this ideal. Moreover, their diverse and competing epistemological perspective on the nature of medical knowledge provokes multiple discrepancies between EBM and PM. According to McCoy, the movements vary substantially in the way they address the corresponding roles of theory and evidence in medical knowledge. To be more specific, EBM and PM reflect upon the long-lasting tensions between empiricism and rationalism in Western philosophy. Despite such considerable and contrasting conceptions of the two movements, they are considered in terms of complementary synthesis as well.
Two medical concepts also differ in their evaluations of the nature of medical uncertainty and the level of statistical heterogeneity in patient responses. While EBM leans toward a “theory-agnostic evidence-driven approach,” PM, in turn, actively implements theory to take advantage of mechanistic vision through Bayesian and causal approaches. However, Beckmann & Lew believe that evidence-based medicine and personalized medicine should be regarded as “mutually complementary” for the clinical practice to move from generic to personalized treatment. Therefore, combining the strong points of both movements might add more value to performing in-depth investigations of large amounts of patients. It is crucial to aim at innovation in translational science through developing and applying EBM and PM to provide the proper patient treatment. The analyzed concepts strive to achieve the best healthcare through an accurate assessment of all accessible evidence but differ in is their conceptual and epistemological methods of defining the valuable evidence and its appropriate implementation.