In contemporary medical education and pediatric practice, “family-centered care” and “evidence-based medicine” (EBM) are frequently promoted simultaneously, as if the 2 are natural partners in the provision of high-quality care. These 2 concepts appear side by side in clinic and hospital mission statements, medical school course aims, and pediatric residency milestones.

In fact, the 2 paradigms approach medical practice from radically divergent perspectives. Family-centered care rests on a biopsychosocial model of healing, is fundamentally holistic, and prioritizes the perspectives of patients and families in medical care, whereas EBM is, at its essence, the systematic application of science to practice. For most providers, EBM connotes provision of the highest-quality care based on the available medical science and is intended to minimize unwarranted variation in care that might result in patients receiving therapies that are unsafe, ineffective, costly, or untimely, compared with the gold standards of care derived from scientific evidence and...

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