The field of medicine is constantly changing and evolving. New techniques, treatments, devices and discoveries alter clinical practice on a frequent basis. Amongst the medical specialties, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (AKA the fertility specialty), is one of the most rapidly changing. If you think about the fact that the oldest IVF baby in the world is just 35 years old, it becomes apparent how quickly this field has evolved.
To stay current in our field, the doctors at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles use many tools. On a daily basis we are reading journal articles and conferring with each other to mine our collective experience. Weekly, we attend conferences at the local hospitals or participate in “virtual” grand rounds online. Monthly, we go to journal club meetings or medical education dinners. In addition, once or twice a year, we travel to multi-day specialty conferences throughout the world to give and hear lectures about current research. Further, we are proud to participate in research studies which eventually will help shape the future of reproductive medicine.
Now of course, not all of the new information to which we are exposed is accurate, pertinent or useful. Research studies are full of flawed design methodology and bias. Presenters may have undisclosed, vested interests in particular outcomes or experiments and pharmaceutical companies are always focused on selling more drugs. Therefore, it is very important to know how to filter through poor or biased information and embrace that which is useful.
To accomplish this, we always consider several points:
1. Where is the information coming from? Is it coming from a respected, peer reviewed journal or the local drug representative?
2. Does it make sense? Drawing on our knowledge of physiology and experience in medicine, does the information have theoretical or plausible foundation?
3. Is it consistent? Has the finding been repeated? How many times? Can we be sure that it is not due to luck?
4. Is it safe? Many findings or discoveries are never proven to be completely useful or useless. It is important however, that we understand the safety implications before adopting any new finding into clinical practice.
Anybody can look on the internet and find medical information. It is the interpretation and application of that information which can makes the difference usefulness and uselessness. If you have questions about the cutting edge of reproductive science or any other fertility related concerns, feel free to contact us, we are happy to speak with you.