How medical know-how progresses

Richard R. Nelson, Kristin Buterbaugh, Marcel Perl, Annetine Gelijns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The conventional wisdom regarding the source of progress in medical practice highlights the role of basic scientific research into the nature of disease pathologies. This perspective neglects the important role of two other sources of progress in medicine. One is the advance of technologies that have enabled the development of new modalities of treatment and diagnosis. The other is learning in clinical practice. In many cases the advance of treatment has involved the interaction of all three of these pathways to progress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1344
Number of pages6
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Innovation
  • Medicine


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