The College of Medicine at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS) was established in January 2004. The four-year curriculum was based on the Problem Based Learning (PBL) format and involved the web-based graduate medical program adopted from the University of Sydney, Australia. At KSAU-HS, one additional semester was added to the beginning of this curriculum to prepare the students in English language skills, PBL, Information Technology and Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). EBM is part of the Personal and Professional Development (PPD) theme of the medical curriculum and is integrated into each stage of the medical curriculum. These modifications of the University of Sydney curriculum are presented here as a model of EBM integration into a college of medicine curriculum.
Evidence based medicine (EBM); medical education; medical curriculum; epidemiology
Evidence based medicine (EBM) is considered an integral part of medical training, but integration of teaching various EBM steps in everyday clinical practice is uncommon. Currently EBM is predominantly taught through theoretical courses, workshops and e-learning. However, clinical teachers lack confidence in teaching EBM in workplace and are often unsure of the existing opportunities for teaching EBM in the clinical setting. There is a need for continuing professional development (CPD) courses that train clinical trainers to teach EBM through on-the-job training by demonstration of applied EBM real time in clinical practice. We developed such a course to encourage clinically relevant teaching of EBM in post-graduate education in various clinical environments.
We devised an e-learning course targeting trainers with EBM knowledge to impart educational methods needed to teach application of EBM teaching in commonly used clinical settings. The curriculum development group comprised experienced EBM teachers, clinical epidemiologists, clinicians and educationalists from institutions in seven European countries. The e-learning sessions were designed to allow participants (teachers) to undertake the course in the workplace during short breaks within clinical activities. An independent European steering committee provided input into the process.
The curriculum defined specific learning objectives for teaching EBM by exploiting educational opportunities in six different clinical settings. The e-modules incorporated video clips that demonstrate practical and effective methods of EBM teaching in everyday clinical practice. The course encouraged focussed teaching activities embedded within a trainer's personal learning plan and documentation in a CPD portfolio for reflection.
This curriculum will help senior clinicians to identify and make the best use of available opportunities in everyday practice in clinical situations to teach various steps of EBM and demonstrate their applicability to clinical practice. Once fully implemented, the ultimate outcome of this pilot project will be a European qualification in teaching EBM, which will be used by doctors, hospitals, professional bodies responsible for postgraduate qualifications and continuing medical education.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is increasingly taught in medical schools, but few curricula have been evaluated using validated instruments.
To evaluate a longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum using a validated instrument.
Design, Participants, Measurements
We evaluated EBM attitudes and knowledge of 32 medical students as they progressed through an EBM curriculum. The first part was an EBM “short course” with didactic and small-group sessions occurring at the end of the second year. The second part integrated EBM assignments with third-year clinical rotations. The validated 15-item Berlin Questionnaire was administered before the course, after the short course, and at the end of the third year.
EBM knowledge scores increased from baseline by 2.8 points at the end of the second year portion of the course (p = .0001), and by 3.7 points at the end of the third year (p < .0001). Self-rated EBM knowledge increased from baseline by 0.8 and 1.1 points, respectively (p = .0006 and p < .0001, respectively). EBM was felt to be of high importance for medical education and clinical practice at all time points, peaking after the short course.
A longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum was associated with increased EBM knowledge. This knowledge increase was sustained throughout the curriculum.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0625-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
medical education; evidence-based medicine; medical school
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an important element of medical education. However, limited information is available on effective curricula.
To evaluate a longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum using validated instruments.
DESIGN, PARTICIPANTS, MEASUREMENTS
We evaluated EBM attitudes and knowledge of medical students as they progressed through an EBM curriculum. The first component of the curriculum was an EBM “short course” with didactic and small-group sessions occurring at the end of the second year. The second component integrated EBM assignments with third-year clinical rotations. The 15-point Berlin Questionnaire was administered before the course in 2006 and 2007, after the short course, and at the end of the third year. The 212-point Fresno Test was administered before the course in 2007 and 2008, after the short course, and at the end of the third year. Self-reported knowledge and attitudes were also assessed in all three classes of medical students.
EBM knowledge scores on the 15-point Berlin Questionnaire increased from baseline by 3.0 points (20.0%) at the end of the second year portion of the course (p < 001) and by 3.4 points (22.7%) at the end of the third year (p < 001). EBM knowledge scores on the 212-point Fresno Test increased from baseline by 39.7 points (18.7%) at the end of the second year portion of the course (p < 001) and by 54.6 points (25.8%) at the end of the third year (p < 001). On a 5-point scale, self-rated EBM knowledge increased from baseline by 1.0 and 1.4 points, respectively (both p < 001). EBM was felt to be of high importance for medical education and clinical practice at all time points, with increases noted after both components of the curriculum.
A longitudinal medical school EBM was associated with markedly increased EBM knowledge on two validated instruments. Both components of the curriculum were associated with gains in knowledge. The curriculum was also associated with increased perceptions of the importance of EBM for medical education and clinical practice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1642-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
medical education; evidence-based medicine; medical school
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an indispensable tool in clinical practice. Teaching and training of EBM to trainee clinicians is patchy and fragmented at its best. Clinically integrated teaching of EBM is more likely to bring about changes in skills, attitudes and behaviour. Provision of evidence-based health care is the most ethical way to practice, as it integrates up-to-date, patient-oriented research into the clinical decision making process, thus improving patients' outcomes. In this article, we aim to dispel the myth that EBM is an academic and statistical exercise removed from practice by providing practical tips for teaching the minimum skills required to ask questions and critically identify and appraise the evidence and presenting an approach to teaching EBM within the existing clinical and educational training infrastructure.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is widely taught in residency, but evidence for effectiveness of EBM teaching on changing residents’ behavior is limited.
To investigate the impact of an EBM curriculum on residents’ use of evidence-based resources in a simulated clinical experience.
Fifty medicine residents randomized to an EBM teaching or control group.
A validated test of EBM knowledge (Fresno test) was administered before and after intervention. Post intervention, residents twice completed a Web-based, multiple-choice instrument (15 items) comprised of clinical vignettes, first without then with access to electronic resources. Use of electronic resources was tracked using ProxyPlus software. Within group pre–post differences and between group post-test differences were examined.
There was more improvement in EBM knowledge (100-point scale) for the intervention group compared to the control group (mean score increase 22 vs. 12, = 0.012). In the simulated clinical experience, the most commonly accessed resources were Ovid (71% of residents accessed) and InfoPOEMs (62%) for the EBM group and UptoDate (67%) and MDConsult (58%) for the control group. Residents in the EBM group were more likely to use evidence-based resources than the control group. Performance on clinical vignettes was similar between the groups both at baseline ( = 0.19) and with access to information resources ( = 0.89).
EBM teaching improved EBM knowledge and increased use of evidence-based resources by residents, but did not improve performance on Web-based clinical vignettes. Future studies will need to examine impact of EBM teaching on clinical outcomes.
evidence-based medicine (EBM); changing residents’ behavior; EBM curriculum
Two of the key steps in evidence based medicine (EBM) are being able to construct a clinical question and effectively search the literature to source relevant information. No evidence currently exists that informs whether such skills should be taught to medical students during their pre-clinical years, or delivered to include both the pre-clinical and clinical years of study. This is an important component of curriculum design as the level of clinical maturity of students can affect their perception of the importance and uptake of EBM principles in practice.
A randomised controlled trial will be conducted to identify the effectiveness of delivering a formal workshop in EBM literature searching skills to third year medical students entering their clinical years of study. The primary outcome of EBM competency in literature searching skills will be evaluated using the Fresno tool.
This trial will provide novel information on the effectiveness of delivering a formal education workshop in evidence based medicine literature searching skills during the clinical years of study. The result of this study will also identify the impact of teaching EBM literature searching skills to medical students during the clinical years of study.
Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) has become a popular approach to medical decision making and is increasingly part of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. EBM follows four steps: 1. formulate a clear clinical question from a patient’s problem; 2. search the literature for relevant clinical articles; 3. evaluate (critically appraise) the evidence for its validity and usefulness; 4. implement useful findings into clinical practice. This review describes the concepts, terminology and skills taught to attendees at EBM courses, focusing specifically on the approach taken to diagnostic questions. It covers how to ask an answerable clinical question, search for evidence, construct diagnostic critically appraised topics (CATs), and use sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, kappa and phi statistics. It familiarises readers with the lexicon and techniques of EBM and allows better understanding of the needs of EBM practitioners.
Many medical schools teach the principles of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) as a subject within their medical curriculum. Few studies have explored the barriers and enablers that students experience when studying medicine and attempting to integrate EBM in their clinical experience. The aim of this study was to identify undergraduate medical student perceptions of EBM, including their current use of its principles as students and perceived future use as clinicians.
Third year medical students were recruited via email to participate in focus group discussions. Four focus groups were conducted separately across four hospital sites. All focus groups were conducted by the same facilitator. All discussions were transcribed verbatim, and analysed independently by the two authors according to the principles of thematic analysis.
Focus group discussions were conducted with 23 third-year medical students, representing three metropolitan and one rural hospital sites. Five key themes emerged from the analysis of the transcripts: (1) Rationale and observed use of EBM in practice, (2) Current use of EBM as students, (3) Perceived use of EBM as future clinicians, (4) Barriers to practicing EBM, and (5) Enablers to facilitate the integration of EBM into clinical practice. Key facilitators for promoting EBM to students include competency in EBM, mentorship and application to clinical disciplines. Barriers to EBM implementation include lack of visible application by senior clinicians and constraints by poor resourcing.
The principles and application of EBM is perceived by medical students to be important in both their current clinical training and perceived future work as clinicians. Future research is needed to identify how medical students incorporate EBM concepts into their clinical practice as they gain greater clinical exposure and competence.
Several studies have evaluated whether evidence-based medicine (EBM) training courses can improve skills such as literature searching and critical appraisal but to date, few data exist on whether teaching EBM skills and providing evidence-based resources result in change in behavior or clinical outcomes. This study was conducted to evaluate whether a multifaceted EBM intervention consisting of teaching EBM skills and provision of electronic evidence resources changed clinical practice.
The medical inpatient units at a district general hospital.
Thirty-five attending physicians and 12 medicine residents.
A multicomponent EBM intervention was provided including an EBM training course of seven 1-hour sessions, an EBM syllabus and textbook, and provision of evidence-based resources on the hospital network.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
The primary outcome of the study was the quality of evidence in support of therapies initiated for the primary diagnoses in 483 consecutive patients admitted during the month before and the month after the intervention. Patients admitted after implementation of the EBM intervention were significantly more likely to receive therapies proven to be beneficial in randomized controlled trials (62% vs 49%; P = .016). Of these trial-proven therapies, those offered after the EBM intervention were significantly more likely to be based on high-quality randomized controlled trials (95% vs 87%; P = .023).
A multifaceted intervention designed to teach and support EBM significantly improved evidence-based practice patterns in a district general hospital.
evidence-based medicine; medical education; practice of medicine
Librarians' participation in evidence-based medicine (EBM) is rooted in past practices, most notably in clinical medical librarianship. EBM extends the librarians' role beyond identification of the literature to involvement in practicing and teaching quality filtering and critical appraisal of the literature. These activities require librarians to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. A professional development program for librarians at the Library of the Health Sciences (LHS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is described. The program's goals are to increase librarians' skills and support the EBM curricular initiative at the UIC College of Medicine (COM). The unique program has been a collaborative effort of the LHS and the COM. The locally developed classes provide librarians with instruction in clinical study designs, statistical concepts, and critical appraisal of the literature. Other interventions such as an EBM round table are also described. The programs' success is measured by librarians' growing involvement in EBM medical curricula, journal clubs, and morning reports. Additionally, librarians gained competence in new skills and professional satisfaction from working collegially with COM students, residents, and faculty.
Purpose: The authors studied the effectiveness of a train-the-trainer collaboration model between librarians and medical faculty to instruct librarians and health professionals in teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM) principles.
Methods: A telephone survey was administered to graduates of an EBM course who agreed to participate in the study. They were asked if and how they taught EBM on returning to their institutions, if they felt competent to critically appraise an article, if their skill in searching PubMed improved, and if they collaborated with others in teaching EBM.
Results: Most respondents were librarians. The class was successful in that most taught EBM on return to their home institutions. Most initiated collaboration with health professionals. The goals of improving PubMed searching and achieving statistical competency had less success.
Conclusion: This model is effective in preparing librarians to teach EBM. Modeling and encouraging collaboration between librarians and health professionals were successful techniques. Librarians would like more instruction in statistical concepts and less in searching PubMed. Conclusions cannot be made for health professionals because of the low response rate from this group. As evidence-based health care continues to extend to other disciplines, librarians can position themselves to participate fully in the EBM educational process.
To develop and implement an evidence-based medicine (EBM) curriculum and determine its effectiveness in improving residents' EBM behaviors and skills.
Description of the curriculum and a multifaceted evaluation, including a pretest-posttest controlled trial.
University-based primary care internal medicine residency program.
Second- and third-year internal medicine residents (N =34).
A 7-week EBM curriculum in which residents work through the steps of evidence-based decisions for their own patients. Based on adult learning theory, the educational strategy included a resident-directed tutorial format, use of real clinical encounters, and specific EBM facilitating techniques for faculty.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Behaviors and self-assessed competencies in EBM were measured with questionnaires. Evidence-based medicine skills were assessed with a 17-point test, which required free text responses to questions based on a clinical vignette and a test article. After the intervention, residents participating in the curriculum (case subjects) increased their use of original studies to answer clinical questions, their examination of methods and results sections of articles, and their self-assessed EBM competence in three of five domains of EBM, while the control subjects did not. The case subjects significantly improved their scores on the EBM skills test (8.5 to 11.0, p =.001), while the control subjects did not (8.5 to 7.1, p =.09). The difference in the posttest scores of the two groups was 3.9 points (p =.001, 95% confidence interval 1.9, 5.9).
An EBM curriculum based on adult learning theory improves residents' EBM skills and certain EBM behaviors. The description and multifaceted evaluation can guide medical educators involved in EBM training.
evidence-based medicine (EBM); curriculum; residents; medical education; adult learning theory
Constructing an answerable question and effectively searching the medical literature are key steps in practicing evidence-based medicine (EBM). This study aimed to identify the effectiveness of delivering a single workshop in EBM literature searching skills to medical students entering their first clinical years of study.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted with third-year undergraduate medical students. Participants were randomized to participate in a formal workshop in EBM literature searching skills, with EBM literature searching skills and perceived competency in EBM measured at one-week post-intervention via the Fresno tool and Clinical Effectiveness and Evidence-Based Practice Questionnaire.
A total of 121 participants were enrolled in the study, with 97 followed-up post-intervention. There was no statistical mean difference in EBM literature searching skills between the 2 groups (mean difference = 0.007 (P = 0.99)). Students attending the EBM workshop were significantly more confident in their ability to construct clinical questions and had greater perceived awareness of information resources.
A single EBM workshop did not result in statistically significant changes in literature searching skills. Teaching and reinforcing EBM literature searching skills during both preclinical and clinical years may result in increased student confidence, which may facilitate student use of EBM skills as future clinicians.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has emerged has a critical clinical competency in the 21st century. Medical schools usually introduce students to critical appraisal in the preclinical years, but there have been few evaluated interventions in teaching EBM in the clinical years. We describe a strategy to encourage students to practice EBM during a required ambulatory medicine clerkship. During this clerkship, our students are required to submit an EBM report, which is prompted by an individual case, and structured with a 5-step approach. One small-group session is devoted to modeling this approach with a case of chest pain. Using a checklist to grade 216 consecutive EBM reports, we found that students were quite successful with the exercise, achieving on average 89.6% of possible checklist points. Students who followed the structure of the exercise closely were more likely to extend their discussions beyond that required and to suggest potential further areas of investigation or design.
medical education; medical student; evidence-based medicine; ambulatory clerkship
While previous authors have emphasized the importance of integrating and reinforcing evidence-based medicine (EBM) skills in residency, there are few published examples of such curricula. We designed an EBM curriculum to train family practice interns in essential EBM skills for information mastery using clinical questions generated by the family practice inpatient service. We sought to evaluate the impact of this curriculum on interns, residents, and faculty.
Interns (n = 13) were asked to self-assess their level of confidence in basic EBM skills before and after their 2-week EBM rotation. Residents (n = 21) and faculty (n = 12) were asked to assess how often the answers provided by the EBM intern to the inpatient service changed medical care. In addition, residents were asked to report how often they used their EBM skills and how often EBM concepts and tools were used in teaching by senior residents and faculty. Faculty were asked if the EBM curriculum had increased their use of EBM in practice and in teaching.
Interns significantly increased their confidence over the course of the rotation. Residents and faculty felt that the answers provided by the EBM intern provided useful information and led to changes in patient care. Faculty reported incorporating EBM into their teaching (92%) and practice (75%). Residents reported applying the EBM skills they learned to patient care (86%) and that these skills were reinforced in the teaching they received outside of the rotation (81%). All residents and 11 of 12 faculty felt that the EBM curriculum had improved patient care.
To our knowledge, this is the first published EBM curriculum using an individual block rotation format. As such, it may provide an alternative model for teaching and incorporating EBM into a residency program.
As the overall evidence for the effectiveness of teaching of evidence based medicine (EBM) is not strong, and the impact of cultural and societal influences on teaching method is poorly understood, we undertook a randomised-controlled trial to test the effectiveness and learning satisfaction with two different EBM teaching methods (usual teaching vs. problem based learning (PBL)) for undergraduate medical students.
A mixed methods study that included a randomised-controlled crossover trial with two intervention arms (usual teaching and PBL) and a nested qualitative study with focus groups to explore student perceptions of learning and to assess the effectiveness and utility of the two teaching methods.
All 129 second-year medical students at the University of Hong Kong in 2007.
The main outcomes measures were attitudes towards EBM; personal application and current use of EBM; EBM knowledge; future use of EBM.
PBL was less effective at imparting knowledge than usual teaching consisting of a lecture followed by a group tutorial. After usual teaching students showed improvement in scores for 'attitudes towards EBM', 'personal application and current use of EBM' and 'EBM knowledge, which were not evident after PBL. In contrast to the usual teaching, students found PBL difficult as they lacked the statistical knowledge necessary to support discussion, failed to understand core concepts, and lost direction.
The evidence presented here would suggest that the teaching of EBM within an Asian environment should adopt a format that facilitates both the acquisition of knowledge and encourages enquiry.
Previous studies report various degrees of agreement between self-perceived competence and objectively measured competence in medical students. There is still a paucity of evidence on how the two correlate in the field of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). We undertook a cross-sectional study to evaluate the self-perceived competence in EBM of senior medical students in Malaysia, and assessed its correlation to their objectively measured competence in EBM.
We recruited a group of medical students in their final six months of training between March and August 2006. The students were receiving a clinically-integrated EBM training program within their curriculum. We evaluated the students' self-perceived competence in two EBM domains ("searching for evidence" and "appraising the evidence") by piloting a questionnaire containing 16 relevant items, and objectively assessed their competence in EBM using an adapted version of the Fresno test, a validated tool. We correlated the matching components between our questionnaire and the Fresno test using Pearson's product-moment correlation.
Forty-five out of 72 students in the cohort (62.5%) participated by completing the questionnaire and the adapted Fresno test concurrently. In general, our students perceived themselves as moderately competent in most items of the questionnaire. They rated themselves on average 6.34 out of 10 (63.4%) in "searching" and 44.41 out of 57 (77.9%) in "appraising". They scored on average 26.15 out of 60 (43.6%) in the "searching" domain and 57.02 out of 116 (49.2%) in the "appraising" domain in the Fresno test. The correlations between the students' self-rating and their performance in the Fresno test were poor in both the "searching" domain (r = 0.13, p = 0.4) and the "appraising" domain (r = 0.24, p = 0.1).
This study provides supporting evidence that at the undergraduate level, self-perceived competence in EBM, as measured using our questionnaire, does not correlate well with objectively assessed EBM competence measured using the adapted Fresno test.
International Medical University, Malaysia, research ID: IMU 110/06
Evidence Based Medicine; assessment; undergraduate
As medical schools turn to community physicians for ambulatory care teaching, assessing the preparation of these faculty in principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM) becomes important.
To determine the knowledge and attitudes of community faculty concerning EBM and their use of EBM in patient care and teaching.
Cross-sectional survey conducted from January to March of 2000.
A clinical campus of a state medical school; a midwestern city of a half-million people with demographics close to national means.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Comparisons of community faculty with full-time faculty in perceived importance and understanding of EBM (5-point scale), knowledge of EBM, and use of EBM in patient care and teaching.
Responses were obtained from 63% (177) of eligible community faculty and 71% (22) of full-time faculty. Community faculty considered EBM skills to be less important for daily practice than did full-time faculty (3.1 vs 4.0; P < .01). Primary care community faculty were less confident of their EBM knowledge than were subspecialty community or full-time faculty (2.9 vs 3.3 vs 3.6; P < .01). Objective measures of EBM knowledge showed primary care and subspecialty community faculty about equal and significantly below full-time faculty (P < .01). Thirty-three percent of community faculty versus 5% of full-time faculty do not incorporate EBM principles into their teaching (P < .01).
Community faculty are not as equipped or motivated to incorporate EBM into their clinical teaching as are full-time faculty. Faculty development programs for community faculty should feature how to use and teach basic EBM concepts.
evidence-based medicine; continuing medical education; ambulatory care; medical education, graduate and undergraduate; community-based teachers
In response to the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) standards set forth in 2008, osteopathic medical schools are restructuring curricula to demonstrate they are teaching the seven core competencies and integrating evidence-based medicine (EBM) throughout all 4 years of training.
To describe and evaluate the efforts of a college of osteopathic medicine to integrate EBM concepts into its curriculum while maintaining existing course content and faculty contact hours.
One-group pre- and posttest study.
Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine-A.T. Still University (KCOM) in Missouri.
KCOM course directors in workshop series I (n=20) and KCOM faculty workshop series II (n=14).
A faculty development workshop series based on the diffusion of innovations model was instituted to facilitate cultural change, gain faculty support, and accelerate the implementation of EBM throughout KCOM’s curriculum.
Faculty attitudes, confidence levels, and the number of courses that included instruction of EBM concepts were measured in August 2007 and May 2008.
Faculty attitudes about integrating EBM into the curriculum and confidence levels measured pre- and postworkshop series found that 21 of 26 participants believed they improved their ability to locate primary EBM resources using the Internet; 21 of 28 improved their ability to teach EBM concepts to students. Fifteen of 16 faculty course directors agreed to find ways to incorporate EBM into their classes. Review of KCOM’s course syllabi in April 2009 demonstrated a statistically significant difference (P<.001) in the number of faculty teaching EBM concepts after the faculty development workshop series concluded in March 2008 compared to before the series commenced in March 2006. An unexpected outcome was the implementation of a faculty-conceived, standalone EBM course in fall 2007.
A workshop series based on the diffusion of innovations model is effective in garnering faculty support for the implementation of a change in curriculum that emphasizes EBM content without increasing faculty contact hours or eliminating existing curricular content. A faculty development model emphasizing a “bottom-to-top” approach is effective in achieving workplace culture changes and seamless curricular transitions. Results have shown that a consensus building model is conducive to engaging faculty and garnering its support to effect curricular change, which, ultimately, ensures success.
Purpose: This paper reports on the development of a tool by the Arizona Health Sciences Library (AHSL) for searching clinical evidence that can be customized for different user groups.
Brief Description: The AHSL provides services to the University of Arizona's (UA's) health sciences programs and to the University Medical Center. Librarians at AHSL collaborated with UA College of Medicine faculty to create an innovative search engine, Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) Search, that provides users with a simple search interface to EBM resources and presents results organized according to an evidence pyramid. EBM Search was developed with a web-based configuration component that allows the tool to be customized for different specialties.
Outcomes/Conclusion: Informal and anecdotal feedback from physicians indicates that EBM Search is a useful tool with potential in teaching evidence-based decision making. While formal evaluation is still being planned, a tool such as EBM Search, which can be configured for specific user populations, may help lower barriers to information resources in an academic health sciences center.
While Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) skills are increasingly being taught in medical schools, teaching quality has been insufficient, so that incoming pediatric residents lack adequate EBM skills required for patient care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief teaching module developed to improve EBM skills of pediatric residents.
With-in subjects study design with pre- and post-test evaluation was performed in a large urban pediatric residency training program in Brooklyn, New York. We included PGY-1s during intern orientation, while second and third year pediatric residents were selected based on schedule availability. Sixty-nine residents were enrolled into the study, 60 (87%) completed the training. An EBM training module consisting of three or four weekly two-hour seminars was conducted. The module was designed to teach core EBM skills including (1) formulating answerable clinical questions, (2) searching the evidence, (3) critical appraisal skills including validity and applicability, and (4) understanding levels of evidence and quantitative results for therapy articles. A portion of the Fresno test of competence in EBM was used to assess EBM skills. The test presented a clinical scenario that was followed by nine short answer questions. One to three questions were used to assess EBM skills for each of the four core skills. The κ co-efficient for inter-rater reliability was 0.74 (95% CI: 0.56–0.92).
Prior to the training module, the residents achieved a mean score of 17% correct overall. Post intervention, the mean score increased to 63% with improvement in each EBM category. A mean of 4.08 more questions (out of 9) were answered correctly after the training (95% CI of 3.44–4.72).
A brief training module was effective in improving EBM skills of pediatric residents.
To characterize evidence-based medicine (EBM) curricula in internal medicine residency programs, a written survey was mailed to 417 program directors of U.S. internal medicine residency programs. For programs offering a freestanding (dedicated curricular time) EBM curriculum, the survey inquired about its objectives, format, curricular time, attendance, faculty development, resources, and evaluation. All directors responded to questions regarding integrating EBM teaching into established educational venues. Of 417 program directors, 269 (65%) responded. Of these 269 programs, 99 (37%) offered a freestanding EBM curriculum. Among these, the most common objectives were performing critical appraisal (78%), searching for evidence (53%), posing a focused question (44%), and applying the evidence in decision making (35%). Although 97% of the programs provided medline, only 33% provided Best Evidence or the Cochrane Library. Evaluation was performed in 37% of the freestanding curricula. Considering all respondents, most programs reported efforts to integrate EBM teaching into established venues, including attending rounds (84%), resident report (82%), continuity clinic (76%), bedside rounds (68%), and emergency department (35%). However, only 51% to 64% of the programs provided on-site electronic information and 31% to 45% provided site-specific faculty development. One third of the training programs reported offering freestanding EBM curricula, which commonly targeted important EBM skills, utilized the residents' experiences, and employed an interactive format. Less than one half of the curricula, however, included curriculum evaluation, and many failed to provide important medical information sources. Most programs reported efforts to integrate EBM teaching, but many of these attempts lacked important structural elements.
evidence-based medicine; residency programs; curriculum; graduate medical education; survey
A variety of methods exists for teaching and learning evidence-based medicine (EBM). However, there is much debate about the effectiveness of various EBM teaching and learning activities, resulting in a lack of consensus as to what methods constitute the best educational practice. There is a need for a clear hierarchy of educational activities to effectively impart and acquire competence in EBM skills. This paper develops such a hierarchy based on current empirical and theoretical evidence.
EBM requires that health care decisions be based on the best available valid and relevant evidence. To achieve this, teachers delivering EBM curricula need to inculcate amongst learners the skills to gain, assess, apply, integrate and communicate new knowledge in clinical decision-making. Empirical and theoretical evidence suggests that there is a hierarchy of teaching and learning activities in terms of their educational effectiveness: Level 1, interactive and clinically integrated activities; Level 2(a), interactive but classroom based activities; Level 2(b), didactic but clinically integrated activities; and Level 3, didactic, classroom or standalone teaching.
All health care professionals need to understand and implement the principles of EBM to improve care of their patients. Interactive and clinically integrated teaching and learning activities provide the basis for the best educational practice in this field.
To measure the effectiveness of an educational intervention designed to teach residents four essential evidence-based medicine (EBM) skills: question formulation, literature searching, understanding quantitative outcomes, and critical appraisal.
Firm-based, controlled trial.
Urban public hospital.
Fifty-five first-year internal medicine residents: 18 in the experimental group and 37 in the control group.
An EBM course, taught 2 hours per week for 7 consecutive weeks by senior faculty and chief residents focusing on the four essential EBM skills.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
The main outcome measure was performance on an EBM skills test that was administered four times over 11 months: at baseline and at three time points postcourse. Postcourse test 1 assessed the effectiveness of the intervention in the experimental group (primary outcome); postcourse test 2 assessed the control group after it crossed over to receive the intervention; and postcourse test 3 assessed durability. Baseline EBM skills were similar in the two groups. After receiving the EBM course, the experimental group achieved significantly higher postcourse test scores (adjusted mean difference, 21%; 95% confidence interval, 13% to 28%; P < .001). Postcourse improvements were noted in three of the four EBM skill domains (formulating questions, searching, and quantitative understanding [P < .005 for all], but not in critical appraisal skills [P = .4]). After crossing over to receive the educational intervention, the control group achieved similar improvements. Both groups sustained these improvements over 6 to 9 months of follow-up.
A brief structured educational intervention produced substantial and durable improvements in residents' cognitive and technical EBM skills.
evidence-based medicine; clinical trial; graduate medical education; internship and residency