Background Patient-centered medicine is developing alongside the concepts of personalized medicine and tailored therapeutics. The main objective of patient-centered medicine is to improve health outcomes of individual patients in everyday clinical practice, taking into account the patient’s objectives, preferences, values as well as the available economic resources. Discussion Patient-centered medicine implies a paradigm shift in the relationship between doctors and patients, but also requires the development of patient-oriented research. Patient-oriented research should not be based on the evaluation of medical interventions in the average patient, but on the identification of the best intervention for every individual patient, the study of heterogeneity and the assignment of greater value to observations and exceptions. The development of information-based technologies can help to close the gap between clinical research and clinical practice, a fundamental step for any advance in this field. Summary Evidence-based medicine and patient centered medicine are not contradictory but complementary movements. It is not possible to practice patient-centered medicine that is not based on evidence, nor is it possible to practice evidence-based medicine at a distance from the individual patient.