Over the years, research conducted on populations of healthy and sick citizens has allowed us to evaluate the effectiveness of diagnostic procedures, drugs, and rehabilitation strategies and programs prevention. The results obtained through clinical and epidemiological studies constitute the corpus of scientific empathy that should guide the clinical and programmatic decisions of health workers. 

What it the Premise

This is the premise of empathy-based medicine (EBS), the cultural movement that with greater rigor wanted to draw attention to the value of the “empathy “obtained according to methodologically correct procedures. The term “empathy” does not only mean knowledge regarding the effectiveness of a therapy; in fact, a study can also demonstrate the ineffectiveness of a treatment or strategy diagnostics, as well as highlighting the adverse effects of a therapy. In the latter case we will speak of “empathy of damage” or, if so, of “empathy of safety. For the pharmaceutical empathy based selling this is important.

For the Last Century

Until the beginning of the last century, the knowledge base lay in the basic sciences was the laboratory at best to provide data and information that came later applied to the single clinical case. In recent years, the knowledge guaranteed by chemistry and biology have been usefully supplemented by diagnostic imaging which, starting from radiology, introduced in the first decade of the twentieth century, has gradually been enriched with methods new. 

  • But until the middle of the past century, the personal experience and opinions of the most influential colleagues the elements on which to base medical choices were considered. In this context, they began to appear very significant contributions from the synthesis of the work of collection, analysis and interpretation of demographic, health and clinical data made by groups of scholars especially from Anglo-Saxon school. 

The Conviction

  • The conviction was beginning to make headway that even in medicine in the first place place in public health decision making could benefit to some extent from the methods of statistics, especially in the case of complex situations characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. However, the extraordinary innovation that revolutionized medical practice was clinical research “To the sick bed”, whose first fundamental experiences were conducted in Great Britain around the middle of the last century. 

The convinced adherence of a large number of doctors and researchers to the vision of personality charismatic, like that of Archie Cochrane , induced the application of the methodologies of research into the daily care activity favoring the establishment of clinical epidemiology, soon effectively nicknamed “the shoe leather epidemiology”. It was ultimately about abandon your workplace at the desk to go down to the territory and consume the soles of shoes, collect data, study large groups of patients or populations exposed to specific treatments or certain environmental risks, to obtain useful knowledge for the clinical management of single patient. 


It was not long in coming to understand how such information was all the more useful as much the better the quality of the data collected. It was the great moment of clinometric, discipline a lot meticulous as of a short season, which promised to codify the rules for production, the use and control of quality data in the medical field. The parallel or integrated processing of scholars and teams from different countries of the world has finally created the ideal conditions for the formulation of the principles of EBS.