Evidence, Eminence and Vehemence

Heard the tail end of a very interesting story on ABC Radio National yesterday afternoon. It was based on some ideas from Peter Heimlich, the son of the Dr Heimlich who gave his name to the Heimlich Manoeuvre for helping people who are choking. Here’s a link to the program:

Something that particularly caught my ear, though, was a comment along the lines “that’s not evidence-based practice, it’s eminence-based or maybe vehemence-based”.

It’s a nice play on words, of course, but it encodes some useful ideas. I’ve talked here before about the notion of evidence-based practice, as well as some of my misgivings about it, but the idea of basing what we do on the best available evidence is a sound one. And recognizing that a couple of the less-sound alternatives include basing it on the prestige and reputation of the people advocating the idea (eminence) or on how loudly they yell (vehemence) is useful.

Maybe we can add a false (or even true) sense of urgency – imminence – to the mix. Anyone else want to play? Letting the aging Baby Boomers make all the decisions – senescence-based practice!

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