Health Encyclopedia

Evidence Quality Ratings

Evidence Quality Ratings

The quality of evidence tells us how much we can trust it and how much we can rely on it to help us make decisions. Evidence quality can be rated using four levels: high, moderate, borderline, and inconclusive.

  • High: When the quality is high, scientists are very confident that the evidence shows the real effects of the treatment or test. There is very little chance that new research will change their confidence. We can really trust the evidence.
  • Moderate: When the quality is moderate, scientists are fairly confident that the evidence shows the real effects of the treatment or test. But more research could change this. And it could show different effects of the treatment or test. Still, we can trust this evidence enough to help us make decisions about the treatment or test.
  • Borderline: This means that scientists aren't very confident about this evidence. More research is needed. We can't really trust this type of evidence. But if we're careful, we may be able to use it to make decisions about the treatment or test.
  • Inconclusive: Evidence may be inconclusive when not enough studies have been done or when the results of different studies don't agree. Or it may be that the studies were not done well enough to provide good evidence. We can't really trust this type of evidence. But sometimes it's the only evidence available.

Last Revised: March 7, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.