PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (687699)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Extractive summarisation of medical documents using domain knowledge and corpus statistics 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2012;5(9):478-481.
Background
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) practice requires practitioners to extract evidence from published medical research when answering clinical queries. Due to the time- consuming nature of this practice, there is a strong motivation for systems that can automatically summarise medical documents and help practitioners find relevant information.
Aim
The aim of this work is to propose an automatic query- focused, extractive summarisation approach that selects informative sentences from medical documents.
Method
We use a corpus that is specifically designed for summarisation in the EBM domain. We use approximately half the corpus for deriving important statistics associated with the best possible extractive summaries. We take into account factors such as sentence position, length, sentence content, and the type of the query posed. Using the statistics from the first set, we evaluate our approach on a separate set. Evaluation of the qualities of the generated summaries is performed automatically using ROUGE, which is a popular tool for evaluating automatic summaries.
Results
Our summarisation approach outperforms all baselines (best baseline score: 0.1594; our score 0.1653). Further improvements are achieved when query types are taken into account.
Conclusion
The quality of extractive summarisation in the medical domain can be significantly improved by incorporating domain knowledge and statistics derived from a specialised corpus. Such techniques can therefore be applied for content selection in end-to-end summarisation systems.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2012.1361
PMCID: PMC3477776  PMID: 23115581
Automatic summarisation; extractive summarisation evidence based medicine; medical document summarisation
2.  EBM in primary care: a qualitative multicenter study in Spain 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:84.
Background
Evidence based medicine (EBM) has made a substantial impact on primary care in Spain over the last few years. However, little research has been done into family physicians (FPs)' attitudes related to EBM. The present study investigates FPs' perceptions of EBM in the primary care context.
Methods
This study used qualitative methodology. Information was obtained from 8 focus groups composed of 67 FPs from 47 health centers in 4 autonomous regions in Spain. Intentional sampling considered participants' previous education in EBM, and their experience as tutors in family medicine or working groups' members of the Spanish Society of Family Practice. Sociological discourse analysis was used with the support of the MAXqda software. Results were validated by means of triangulation among researchers and contrast with participants.
Results
Findings were grouped into three main areas: 1) The tug-of-war between the "science" of EBM and "experience" in the search for good clinical practice in primary care; 2) The development of EBM sensemaking as a reaction to contextual factors and interests; 3) The paradox of doubt and trust in the new EBM experts.
The meaning of EBM was dynamically constructed within the primary care context. FPs did not consider good clinical practice was limited to the vision of science that EBM represents. Its use appeared to be conditioned by several factors that transcended the common concept of barriers. Along with concerns about its objectivity, participants showed a tendency to see EBM as the use of simplified guidelines developed by EBM experts.
Conclusions
The identification of science with EBM and its recognition as a useful but insufficient tool for the good clinical practice requires rethinking new meanings of evidence within the primary care reality. Beyond the barriers related to accessing and putting into practice the EBM, its reactive use can determine FPs' questions and EBM development in a direction not always centred on patients' needs. The questioning of experts' authority as a pillar of EBM could be challenged by the emergence of new kinds of EBM texts and experts to believe in.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-84
PMCID: PMC3166903  PMID: 21827662
3.  Impact of an Evidence-Based Medicine Curriculum Based on Adult Learning Theory 
OBJECTIVE
To develop and implement an evidence-based medicine (EBM) curriculum and determine its effectiveness in improving residents' EBM behaviors and skills.
DESIGN
Description of the curriculum and a multifaceted evaluation, including a pretest-posttest controlled trial.
SETTING
University-based primary care internal medicine residency program.
PARTICIPANTS
Second- and third-year internal medicine residents (N =34).
INTERVENTIONS
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).
CONCLUSIONS
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.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1997.07159.x
PMCID: PMC1497200  PMID: 9436893
evidence-based medicine (EBM); curriculum; residents; medical education; adult learning theory
4.  Do knowledge infrastructure facilities support Evidence-Based Practice in occupational health? An exploratory study across countries among occupational physicians enrolled on Evidence-Based Medicine courses 
Background
Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is an important method used by occupational physicians (OPs) to deliver high quality health care. The presence and quality of a knowledge infrastructure is thought to influence the practice of EBM in occupational health care. This study explores the facilities in the knowledge infrastructure being used by OPs in different countries, and their perceived importance for EBM practice.
Methods
Thirty-six OPs from ten countries, planning to attend an EBM course and to a large extent recruited via the European Association of Schools of Occupational Medicine (EASOM), participated in a cross-sectional study.
Results
Research and development institutes, and knowledge products and tools are used by respectively more than 72% and more than 80% of the OPs and they are rated as being important for EBM practice (more than 65 points (range 0–100)). Conventional knowledge access facilities, like traditional libraries, are used often (69%) but are rated as less important (46.8 points (range 0–100)) compared to the use of more novel facilities, like question-and-answer facilities (25%) that are rated as more important (48.9 points (range 0–100)). To solve cases, OPs mostly use non evidence-based sources. However, they regard the evidence-based sources that are not often used, e.g. the Cochrane library, as important enablers for practising EBM. The main barriers are lack of time, payment for full-text articles, language barrier (most texts are in English), and lack of skills and support.
Conclusion
This first exploratory study shows that OPs use many knowledge infrastructure facilities and rate them as being important for their EBM practice. However, they are not used to use evidence-based sources in their practice and face many barriers that are comparable to the barriers physicians face in primary health care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-18
PMCID: PMC2645383  PMID: 19183450
5.  How learning style affects evidence-based medicine: a survey study 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:81.
Background
Learning styles determine how people manage new information. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves the management of information in clinical practice. As a consequence, the way in which a person uses EBM can be related to his or her learning style. In order to tailor EBM education to the individual learner, this study aims to determine whether there is a relationship between an individual's learning style and EBM competence (knowledge/skills, attitude, behaviour).
Methods
In 2008, we conducted a survey among 140 novice GP trainees in order to assess their EBM competence and learning styles (Accommodator, Diverger, Assimilator, Converger, or mixed learning style).
Results
The trainees' EBM knowledge/skills (scale 0-15; mean 6.8; 95%CI 6.4-7.2) were adequate and their attitudes towards EBM (scale 0-100; mean 63; 95%CI 61.3-64.3) were positive. We found no relationship between their knowledge/skills or attitudes and their learning styles (p = 0.21; p = 0.19). Of the trainees, 40% used guidelines to answer clinical questions and 55% agreed that the use of guidelines is the most appropriate way of applying EBM in general practice. Trainees preferred using evidence from summaries to using evidence from single studies. There were no differences in medical decision-making or in EBM use (p = 0.59) for the various learning styles. However, we did find a link between having an Accommodating or Converging learning style and making greater use of intuition. Moreover, trainees with different learning styles expressed different ideas about the optimal use of EBM in primary care.
Conclusions
We found that EBM knowledge/skills and EBM attitudes did not differ with respect to the learning styles of GP trainees. However, we did find differences relating to the use of intuition and the trainees' ideas regarding the use of evidence in decision-making.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-81
PMCID: PMC3207915  PMID: 21982307
6.  Description and evaluation of an EBM curriculum using a block rotation 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-19
PMCID: PMC524496  PMID: 15476556
7.  Teaching of evidence-based medicine to medical students in Mexico: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:107.
Background
Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is an important competency for the healthcare professional. Experimental evidence of EBM educational interventions from rigorous research studies is limited. The main objective of this study was to assess EBM learning (knowledge, attitudes and self-reported skills) in undergraduate medical students with a randomized controlled trial.
Methods
The educational intervention was a one-semester EBM course in the 5th year of a public medical school in Mexico. The study design was an experimental parallel group randomized controlled trial for the main outcome measures in the 5th year class (M5 EBM vs. M5 non-EBM groups), and quasi-experimental with static-groups comparisons for the 4th year (M4, not yet exposed) and 6th year (M6, exposed 6 months to a year earlier) groups. EBM attitudes, knowledge and self-reported skills were measured using Taylor’s questionnaire and a summative exam which comprised of a 100-item multiple-choice question (MCQ) test.
Results
289 Medical students were assessed: M5 EBM=48, M5 non-EBM=47, M4=87, and M6=107. There was a higher reported use of the Cochrane Library and secondary journals in the intervention group (M5 vs. M5 non-EBM). Critical appraisal skills and attitude scores were higher in the intervention group (M5) and in the group of students exposed to EBM instruction during the previous year (M6). The knowledge level was higher after the intervention in the M5 EBM group compared to the M5 non-EBM group (p<0.001, Cohen's d=0.88 with Taylor's instrument and 3.54 with the 100-item MCQ test). M6 Students that received the intervention in the previous year had a knowledge score higher than the M4 and M5 non-EBM groups, but lower than the M5 EBM group.
Conclusions
Formal medical student training in EBM produced higher scores in attitudes, knowledge and self-reported critical appraisal skills compared with a randomized control group. Data from the concurrent groups add validity evidence to the study, but rigorous follow-up needs to be done to document retention of EBM abilities.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-107
PMCID: PMC3511203  PMID: 23131115
Evidence-based medicine; Undergraduate medical education; Curriculum development; Educational assessment; Critical appraisal skills
8.  Developing and using a rubric for evaluating evidence-based medicine point-of-care tools 
Objective:
The research sought to establish a rubric for evaluating evidence-based medicine (EBM) point-of-care tools in a health sciences library.
Methods:
The authors searched the literature for EBM tool evaluations and found that most previous reviews were designed to evaluate the ability of an EBM tool to answer a clinical question. The researchers' goal was to develop and complete rubrics for assessing these tools based on criteria for a general evaluation of tools (reviewing content, search options, quality control, and grading) and criteria for an evaluation of clinical summaries (searching tools for treatments of common diagnoses and evaluating summaries for quality control).
Results:
Differences between EBM tools' options, content coverage, and usability were minimal. However, the products' methods for locating and grading evidence varied widely in transparency and process.
Conclusions:
As EBM tools are constantly updating and evolving, evaluation of these tools needs to be conducted frequently. Standards for evaluating EBM tools need to be established, with one method being the use of objective rubrics. In addition, EBM tools need to provide more information about authorship, reviewers, methods for evidence collection, and grading system employed.
doi:10.3163/1536-5050.99.3.012
PMCID: PMC3133902  PMID: 21753917
9.  Incorporating Evidence-based Medicine into Resident Education: A CORD Survey of Faculty and Resident Expectations 
Background
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) invokes evidence-based medicine (EBM) principles through the practice-based learning core competency. The authors hypothesized that among a representative sample of emergency medicine (EM) residency programs, a wide variability in EBM resident training priorities, faculty expertise expectations, and curricula exists.
Objectives
The primary objective was to obtain descriptive data regarding EBM practices and expectations from EM physician educators. Our secondary objective was to assess differences in EBM educational priorities among journal club directors compared with non–journal club directors.
Methods
A 19-question survey was developed by a group of recognized EBM curriculum innovators and then disseminated to Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) conference participants, assessing their opinions regarding essential EBM skill sets and EBM curricular expectations for residents and faculty at their home institutions. The survey instrument also identified the degree of interest respondents had in receiving a free monthly EBM journal club curriculum.
Results
A total of 157 individuals registered for the conference, and 98 completed the survey. Seventy-seven (77% of respondents) were either residency program directors or assistant / associate program directors. The majority of participants were from university-based programs and in practice at least 5 years. Respondents reported the ability to identify flawed research (45%), apply research findings to patient care (43%), and comprehend research methodology (33%) as the most important resident skill sets. The majority of respondents reported no formal journal club or EBM curricula (75%) and do not utilize structured critical appraisal instruments (71%) when reviewing the literature. While journal club directors believed that resident learners’ most important EBM skill is to identify secondary peer-reviewed resources, non–journal club directors identified residents’ ability to distinguish significantly flawed research as the key skill to develop. Interest in receiving a free monthly EBM journal club curriculum was widely accepted (89%).
Conclusions
Attaining EBM proficiency is an expected outcome of graduate medical education (GME) training, although the specific domains of anticipated expertise differ between faculty and residents. Few respondents currently use a formalized curriculum to guide the development of EBM skill sets. There appears to be a high level of interest in obtaining EBM journal club educational content in a structured format. Measuring the effects of providing journal club curriculum content in conjunction with other EBM interventions may warrant further investigation.
doi:10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00889.x
PMCID: PMC3219923  PMID: 21199085
evidence-based medicine; knowledge translation; faculty development
10.  Clinical Care Improvement with Use of Health Information Technology Focusing on Evidence Based Medicine 
Healthcare Informatics Research  2012;18(3):164-170.
Objectives
Healthcare institutions need timely patient information from various sources at the point-of-care. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a tool for proper and efficient incorporation of the results of research in decision-making. Characteristics of medical treatment processes and practical experience concerning the effect of EBM in the clinical process are surveyed.
Methods
A cross sectional survey conducted in Tehran hospitals in February-March 2012 among 51 clinical residents. The respondents were asked to apply EBM in clinical decision-making to answer questions about the effect of EBM in the clinical process. A valid and reliable questionnaire was used in this study.
Results
EBM provides a framework for problem solving and improvement of processes. Most residents (76%) agreed that EBM could improve clinical decision making. Eighty one percent of the respondents believed that EBM resulted in quick updating of knowledge. They believed that EBM was more useful for diagnosis than for treatment. There was a significant association between out-patients and in-patients in using electronic EBM resources.
Conclusions
Research findings were useful in clinical practice and decision making. The computerized guidelines are important tools for improving clinical process quality. When learning how to use IT, methods of search and evaluation of evidence for diagnosis, treatment and medical education are necessary. Purposeful use of IT in clinical processes reduces workload and improves decision-making.
doi:10.4258/hir.2012.18.3.164
PMCID: PMC3483473  PMID: 23115738
Therapeutic Process; Evidence-Based Medicine; Decision Making; Health Information Technology; Guideline
11.  Awareness and Use of Evidence-based Medicine Databases and Cochrane Library Among Physicians in Croatia 
Croatian Medical Journal  2010;51(2):157-164.
Aim
To assess awareness and use of evidence-based medicine (EBM) databases and The Cochrane Library among physicians in Croatia.
Methods
A cross-sectional study with a telephone survey was performed among 573 physicians (88.6% response rate from 647 contacted physicians) from family practice and 4 major university hospital centers in Croatia. The main outcome measures were physicians' awareness of The Cochrane Collaboration, awareness and use of The Cochrane Library, access to EBM databases, and access to internet at work.
Results
Overall, 54% of respondents said they had access to EBM databases, but when asked which databases they used, they named mostly non-EBM databases. The question on the highest level of evidence in EBM was correctly answered by 53% respondents, 30% heard of The Cochrane Collaboration, and 34% heard about The Cochrane Library. They obtained information about The Cochrane Library mostly from colleagues and research articles, whereas the information about EBM was gained mainly during continuous medical education. There were more respondents who thought The Cochrane Library could help them in practice (58%) than those who heard about The Cochrane Library (30%). Only 20% of the respondents heard about the initiative for the establishment of the Croatian branch of The Cochrane Collaboration. Family physicians had significantly lower level of awareness, knowledge, and use of EBM and The Cochrane Library than physicians from university hospitals.
Conclusion
There is low awareness about EBM and The Cochrane Library among physicians in Croatia, which creates a need for educational interventions about EBM for the benefit of health care in Croatia.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2010.51.157
PMCID: PMC2859421  PMID: 20401959
12.  Norwegian Physicians' Knowledge of and Opinions about Evidence-Based Medicine: Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7828.
Objective
To answer five research questions: Do Norwegian physicians know about the three important aspects of EBM? Do they use EBM methods in their clinical practice? What are their attitudes towards EBM? Has EBM in their opinion changed medical practice during the last 10 years? Do they use EBM based information sources?
Design
Cross sectional survey in 2006.
Setting
Norway.
Participants
966 doctors who responded to a questionnaire (70% response rate).
Results
In total 87% of the physicians mentioned the use of randomised clinical trials as a key aspect of EBM, while 53% of them mentioned use of clinical expertise and only 19% patients' values. 40% of the respondents reported that their practice had always been evidence-based. Many respondents experienced difficulties in using EBM principles in their clinical practice because of lack of time and difficulties in searching EBM based literature. 80% agreed that EBM helps physicians towards better practice and 52% that it improves patients' health. As reasons for changes in medical practice 86% of respondents mentioned medical progress, but only 39% EBM.
Conclusions
The results of the study indicate that Norwegian physicians have a limited knowledge of the key aspects of EBM but a positive attitude towards the concept. They had limited experience in the practice of EBM and were rather indifferent to the impact of EBM on medical practice. For solving a patient problem, physicians would rather consult a colleague than searching evidence based resources such as the Cochrane Library.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007828
PMCID: PMC2773422  PMID: 19915708
13.  Validation of an Evidence-Based Medicine Critically Appraised Topic Presentation Evaluation Tool (EBM C-PET) 
Background
Competence in evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an important clinical skill. Pediatrics residents are expected to acquire competence in EBM during their education, yet few validated tools exist to assess residents' EBM skills.
Objective
We sought to develop a reliable tool to evaluate residents' EBM skills in the critical appraisal of a research article, the development of a written EBM critically appraised topic (CAT) synopsis, and a presentation of the findings to colleagues.
Methods
Instrument development used a modified Delphi technique. We defined the skills to be assessed while reviewing (1) a written CAT synopsis and (2) a resident's EBM presentation. We defined skill levels for each item using the Dreyfus and Dreyfus model of skill development and created behavioral anchors using a frame-of-reference training technique to describe performance for each skill level. We evaluated the assessment instrument's psychometric properties, including internal consistency and interrater reliability.
Results
The EBM Critically Appraised Topic Presentation Evaluation Tool (EBM C-PET) is composed of 14 items that assess residents' EBM and global presentation skills. Resident presentations (N  =  27) and the corresponding written CAT synopses were evaluated using the EBM C-PET. The EBM C-PET had excellent internal consistency (Cronbach α  =  0.94). Intraclass correlation coefficients were used to assess interrater reliability. Intraclass correlation coefficients for individual items ranged from 0.31 to 0.74; the average intraclass correlation coefficients for the 14 items was 0.67.
Conclusions
We identified essential components of an assessment tool for an EBM CAT synopsis and presentation with excellent internal consistency and a good level of interrater reliability across 3 different institutions. The EBM C-PET is a reliable tool to document resident competence in higher-level EBM skills.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-12-00049.1
PMCID: PMC3693689  PMID: 24404268
14.  The practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM) in gastroenterology: discrepancies between EBM familiarity and EBM competency 
Introduction: Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become increasingly important in the practice of gastroenterology and endoscopy, and the training of future gastroenterology physicians. The objectives were to assess the attitudes/opinions of gastroenterology specialists towards EBM, and evaluate possible gaps in education for certain EBM-related concepts.
Methods: An internet-based survey was emailed to 4073 gastroenterology specialists. The main outcome measurements were physicians’ endorsement of EBM, impact of EBM on clinical practice, utilization of EBM-specific resources, self-assessed understanding of EBM concepts (EBM familiarity score), and actual knowledge of EBM concepts (EBM competency score).
Results: A total of 337 gastroenterology specialists participated. On a sale of 1–10, there was widespread agreement that EBM improves patient care (median score = 9, interquartile range (IQR) = 7–10), and physicians should be familiar with techniques for critical appraisal of studies (median = 9, IQR = 8–10). Most (64.0%) utilized the EBM-related resource UpToDate™ regularly, as opposed to PubMed™ (47.1%) or Clinical Evidence™ (5.4%). The mean EBM familiarity score was 3.4 ± 0.6 on a scale of 1–4. Out of a maximum 49 points, the mean EBM competency score was 35 ± 4.9. There was poor concordance among EBM familiarity and competency scores (r = 0.161; p = 0.005). Academic practice (p < 0.001), research/teaching (p < 0.001), advanced degree (p = 0.012), and recent EBM training (p = 0.001) were all associated with improved EBM competency.
Conclusion: The attitudes and opinions of EBM are extremely favorable among gastroenterology physicians. Although gastroenterology physicians report familiarity with most EBM-related concepts, there is poor correlation with their actual knowledge of EBM. Further educational initiatives should be undertaken to address methods in which EBM skills are reinforced among all gastroenterology practitioners.
doi:10.1177/1756283X11412240
PMCID: PMC3165209  PMID: 21922027
clinical practice; evidence-based medicine; survey
15.  Towards evidence‐based medicine for paediatricians 
To give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest‐quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence‐based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format that has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, although they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence‐based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been carried out in a hierarchical way, to search for the best‐quality evidence to answer the question (http://www.cebm.net/levels_of_evidence.asp). A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat), books by Sackett et al4 and Moyer et al5 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Electronic‐only topics that have been published on the BestBets site (www.bestbets.org) and may be of interest to paediatricians include:
Are meningeal irritation signs reliable in diagnosing meningitis in children?
Is immobilisation effective in Osgood‐Schlatter's disease?
Do all children presenting to the emergency department with a needlestick injury require PEP for HIV to reduce HIV transmission?
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still has not been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal.
Is lumbar puncture necessary for evaluation of early neonatal sepsis?
Does the use of calamine or antihistamine provide symptomatic relief from pruritus in children with varicella zoster infection?
Is supplementary iron useful when preterm infants are treated with erythropoietin?
Is more research needed?
“More research is needed” is a phrase you might have read before. But is more research really needed? Two situations are offered to us in Archimedes this month where clinical questions are, as yet, unanswered. Is iron supplementation really necessary for premature infants treated with erythropoietin, and do antihistamines and calamine lotion help in children with chicken pox? How can we decide if these questions really do “need” research? It may be worth thinking of how likely benefits and harms may be, what the importance of these outcomes are and finally, how much would you consider reasonable to pay for the answer? For example, what chance is there that antihistamines work in chickenpox? What is the chance that side effects will occur? What is the relative severity of side effects versus the delight of being itch free? If we pay for research and spend hours and hours of time pressing through the increasing regulatory frameworks for clinical trials to define the answer to this question, what will be the opportunity cost? What would we fail to do by looking at this? The same questions can be asked of iron supplementation in premature infants, the salvage treatment of relapsing systemic histocytosis or the promotion of car‐seat use in low‐income families. Such value judgements are important; they will have different answers from different perspectives; they will be subject to political influences from pressure groups; being aware of them might stop us from frequently expounding “more research is needed”.
References
1Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
5Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
doi:10.1136/adc.2006.105379
PMCID: PMC2083019
16.  Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine: a student-selected component at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University 
Background
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves approaching a clinical problem using a four-step method: (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. EBM has now been incorporated as an integral part of the medical curriculum in many faculties of medicine around the world. The Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, started its process of curriculum reform and introduction of the new curriculum 4 years ago. One of the most characteristic aspects of this curriculum is the introduction of special study modules and electives as a student-selected component in the fourth year of study; the Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine course was included as one of these special study modules. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the EBM skills of medical students after completing the course and their perceptions of the faculty member delivering the course and organization of the course.
Materials and methods
The EBM course was held for the first time as a special study module for fourth-year medical students in the first semester of the academic year 2009–2010. Fifteen students were enrolled in this course. At the end of the course, students anonymously evaluated aspects of the course regarding their EBM skills and course organization using a five- point Likert scale in response to an online course evaluation questionnaire. In addition, students’ achievement was evaluated with regard to the skills and competencies taught in the course.
Results
Medical students generally gave high scores to all aspects of the EBM course, including course organization, course delivery, methods of assessment, and overall. Scores were also high for students’ self-evaluation of skill level and EBM experience. The results of a faculty member’s evaluation of the students’ achievement showed an average total percentage (92.2%) for all EBM steps.
Conclusion
The EBM course at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, is useful for familiarizing medical students with the basic principles of EBM and to help them in answering routine questions of clinical interest in a systematic way. In light of the results obtained from implementing this course with a small number of students, and as a student-selected component, the author believes integrating EBM longitudinally throughout the curriculum would be beneficial for King Abdulaziz University medical students. It would provide a foundation of knowledge, offer easy access to resources, promote point-of-care and team learning, help students to develop applicable skills for lifelong learning, and help the faculty to achieve its goals of becoming more student-centered and encouraging students to employ more self-directed learning strategies.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S25276
PMCID: PMC3661260  PMID: 23745093
student-selected component; evidence-based medicine; learning; curriculum
17.  Familiarity of medical residents at Kerman Medical University with evidence based medicine databases 
BACKGROUND:
Using Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) in clinical practice is an important strategy for improving and updating medical services. Therefore, EBM has recently attracted a lot of attention in many medical schools around the world. In this study we tried to evaluate the familiarity of clinical residents who are one of the main clinical decision makers in public hospitals and also the next generation of specialists with EBM and EBM databases.
METHODS:
This was a cross–sectional study in 2010 in which clinical residents of Kerman Medical University (KMU) participated. Residents were asked about the four main EBM databases. The data was collected by a self-administered questionnaire.
RESULTS:
The data showed that from the respondents only 26.6% knew about EBM and only 28.7% of the respondents were familiar with “Up to Date”, 22.3% were familiar with “Ovid EBM Reviews”, 6.4% were familiar with “Cochrane” and 5.3% were familiar with “BMJ Clinical Evidence”. The frequencies of those that actually used the databases for clinical decision making and could answer the search questions were even less.
CONCLUSIONS:
The results showed most of the residents lack sufficient knowledge about EBM and its databases. The reason is probably the inexistence of a systematic and comprehensive curriculum for EBM education during their residency program or undergraduate program. Thus, due to the importance of learning EBM in this group, there is a necessity to plan a comprehensive and proper education schedule for EBM and EBM database use at the beginning or further stages of residency.
PMCID: PMC3430030  PMID: 22973334
Evidence Based Medicine; EBM database; Clinical Residents; Postgraduate Curriculum
18.  Effect of a brief intervention on evidence-based medicine skills of pediatric residents 
Background
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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).
Conclusion
A brief training module was effective in improving EBM skills of pediatric residents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-1
PMCID: PMC1368975  PMID: 16403214
19.  Development and evaluation of the evidence-based medicine program in surgery: a spiral approach 
Medical Education Online  2014;19:10.3402/meo.v19.24269.
Background
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) aims to provide skills that help physicians answer clinically important questions, determine new evidence, and incorporate the acquired knowledge in practice. EBM skills are necessary for the practice of modern medicine, since physicians should use up-to-date knowledge and information to justify their medical decisions.
Purpose
We aimed to evaluate the EBM program implemented at Hacettepe University School of Medicine.
Methods
In 2004, a spiral program for the teaching and practice of EBM was developed for the first 3 years of medical school. Following this program, a practice of EBM was included in the fourth year during the surgery clerkship, after an introductory lecture. The students worked within collaborative teams of 3–5 and practiced EBM with actual cases seen in the surgical service in which they were involved. Each student was asked to complete a questionnaire that evaluated the more theoretical program from the first 3 years and the practical application in the fourth year.
Results
Nearly half of the students stated that the preclinical years of the EBM program were ‘adequate’, but only 30% of the students indicated that the program was practical. They stated that ‘more practical approaches were used in the fourth year, whereas more theory-based approaches were used during the preclinical years’. More than 75% of the students declared that the practice of EBM in the fourth year was useful and appropriate for team-based learning.
Conclusions
The EBM program was evaluated as ‘adequate’. EBM courses should be included in the entire curriculum in an integrated manner. The students understand the main philosophy of EBM in the clinical year when involved in its practical application with actual patients.
doi:10.3402/meo.v19.24269
PMCID: PMC4000923  PMID: 24767706
evidence-based medicine; spiral curriculum; medical education
20.  Towards evidence‐based medicine for paediatricians 
To give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence‐based” answers to common questions that are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format that has been successfully developed by Kevin Mackway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, although they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor to search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers is practical, best evidence‐based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching2 and obtaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been performed in a hierarchical way, to search for the best quality evidence to answer the question (http://www.cebm.net). A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal, and the measures of effect (such as the number needed to treat), books by Sackett4 and Moyer5 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided, but to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Electronics‐only topics that have been published on the BestBets site (www.bestbets.org) and may be of interest to paediatricians include the following.
Can steroids be used to reduce post tonsillectomy pain?
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still hasn't been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the instructions for authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal:
Is teething the cause of minor ailments?
Should steroid creams be used in cases of labial fusion?
Does erythromycin cause pyloric stenosis?
References
1 Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health. Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2 Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3 Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4 Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
5 Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health. Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
Can: doing, using and replicating evidence‐based child health
The practice of evidence‐based child health is said to be the five‐step way of asking questions, acquiring information, appraising the evidence, applying the results and assessing our performance.
If the truth be known, for the vast majority of the time, most of us perform our clinical practice replicating what we have done previously. Most of the time this is based on the combination of excellent education, skilled interpretation of clinical findings, and good discussions with children and families. We hope that the education we rely on was (and remains) based on the best available scientific evidence. If it is, we are practising a form of “micro‐evidence‐based healthcare (EBHC)” (doing just step 4).
Sometimes, we question our knowledge (or more uncomfortably, someone does this for us), and will head off to top up our understanding of an area. This “using” mode, if we use well‐appraised resources to supply our thirst for information, will also promote the practice of evidence‐based care. This midi‐EBHC asks us to go through steps 1, 2 and 4.
Occasionally, we also actually need to go through the entire process of getting “down and dirty” with the primary research and appraising it to influence our practice. Maxi‐EBHC is considerably more demanding in time, but largely more satisfying intellectually.
If we reframe the practice of EBHC as using the family and child values, the best evidence, and our clinical expertise, then we can do it by micro‐methods, midi‐methods or maxi‐methods, and choose the most appropriate approach for the situation we confront.
Acknowledgement
I thank Dr Sharon Straus, Director of the Center for Evidence‐based Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
doi:10.1136/adc.2006.110080
PMCID: PMC2083440
21.  On-the-Job Evidence-Based Medicine Training for Clinician-Scientists of the Next Generation 
The Clinical Biochemist Reviews  2013;34(2):93-103.
Clinical scientists are at the unique interface between laboratory science and frontline clinical practice for supporting clinical partnerships for evidence-based practice. In an era of molecular diagnostics and personalised medicine, evidence-based laboratory practice (EBLP) is also crucial in aiding clinical scientists to keep up-to-date with this expanding knowledge base. However, there are recognised barriers to the implementation of EBLP and its training. The aim of this review is to provide a practical summary of potential strategies for training clinician-scientists of the next generation.
Current evidence suggests that clinically integrated evidence-based medicine (EBM) training is effective. Tailored e-learning EBM packages and evidence-based journal clubs have been shown to improve knowledge and skills of EBM. Moreover, e-learning is no longer restricted to computer-assisted learning packages. For example, social media platforms such as Twitter have been used to complement existing journal clubs and provide additional post-publication appraisal information for journals.
In addition, the delivery of an EBLP curriculum has influence on its success. Although e-learning of EBM skills is effective, having EBM trained teachers available locally promotes the implementation of EBM training. Training courses, such as Training the Trainers, are now available to help trainers identify and make use of EBM training opportunities in clinical practice. On the other hand, peer-assisted learning and trainee-led support networks can strengthen self-directed learning of EBM and research participation among clinical scientists in training. Finally, we emphasise the need to evaluate any EBLP training programme using validated assessment tools to help identify the most crucial ingredients of effective EBLP training.
In summary, we recommend on-the-job training of EBM with additional focus on overcoming barriers to its implementation. In addition, future studies evaluating the effectiveness of EBM training should use validated outcome tools, endeavour to achieve adequate power and consider the effects of EBM training on learning environment and patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3799223  PMID: 24151345
22.  Towards evidence based medicine for paediatricians 
In order to give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format which has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, through they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching,2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been performed in a hierarchical way, to search for the best quality evidence to answer the question.4 A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal, and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat, NNT) books by Sackett5 and Moyer6 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still hasn't been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal:
Does neonatal BCG vaccination protect against tuberculous meningitis?
Does dexamethasone reduce the risk of extubation failure in ventilated children?
Should metformin be prescribed to overweight adolescents in whom dietary/behavioural modifications have not helped?
REFERENCES
1. Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2. Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3. Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4. http://cebm.jr2.ox.ac.uk/docs/levels.htm (accessed July 2002).
5. Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
6. Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
How to read your journals
Most people have their journals land, monthly, weekly, or quarterly, on their desk, courtesy of their professional associations. Then they sit, gathering dust and guilt, for a period of time. When the layer of either is too great for comfort (or the desk space is needed for some proper work), the wrapper is removed and the journal scanned. But does how people read reflect their information needs or their entertainment requirements?
It is not uncommon to find people straying from the editorial introduction to the value added sections (like obituaries, Lucina‐like summary pages, and end‐of‐article fillers) rather than face the impenetrable science that sits between them. I think that this is probably unhelpful, and would urge readers to do one more thing before placing the journal in the recycling. Scan the table of contents; if it mentions a systematic review or a randomised trial, then read at least the title and the abstract's conclusions. If you agree, pat yourself warmly on the back for being evidence based and up‐to‐date. If you disagree, ask if it will make any impact on your clinical (or personal) life. If it might, run through the methods and quickly appraise them. Does it supply higher quality evidence than that you already possess? If it does, it's worth reading. If it doesn't, don't bother too much.
There are new innovations which might aid the tedious task of consuming research effort. The on‐line Précis section of the Archives provides a highly readable version of the contents page to whet one's appetite. Finally, it's worth mentioning that evidence based summary materials (like Archimedes, or Journal Watch) are always worth reading—and if you didn't think that you wouldn't be here, would you?
PMCID: PMC2082933
Archimedes; evidence based medicine
23.  Teaching evidence-based medicine literature searching skills to medical students during the clinical years: a randomized controlled trial 
Objectives:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
doi:10.3163/1536-5050.100.3.009
PMCID: PMC3411272  PMID: 22879808
24.  Effectiveness of national evidence-based medicine competition in Taiwan 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:66.
Background
Competition and education are intimately related and can be combined in many ways. The role of competition in medical education of evidence-based medicine (EBM) has not been investigated. In order to enhance the dissemination and implementation of EBM in Taiwan, EBM competitions have been established among healthcare professionals. This study was to evaluate the impact of competition in EBM learning.
Methods
The EBM competition used PICO (patient, intervention, comparison, and outcome) queries to examine participants’ skills in framing an answerable question, literature search, critical appraisal and clinical application among interdisciplinary teams. A structured questionnaire survey was conducted to investigate EBM among participants in the years of 2009 and 2011. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire survey at three months prior to the competition and finished the same questionnaire right after the competition.
Results
Valid questionnaires were collected from 358 participants, included 162 physicians, 71 nurses, 101 pharmacists, and 24 other allied healthcare professionals. There were significant increases in participants’ knowledge of and skills in EBM (p < 0.001). Their barriers to literature searching and forming answerable questions significantly decreased (p < 0.01). Furthermore, there were significant increases in their access to the evidence-based retrieval databases, including the Cochrane Library (p < 0.001), MD Consult (p < 0.001), ProQuest (p < 0.001), UpToDate (p = 0.001), CINAHL (p = 0.001), and MicroMedex (p = 0.024).
Conclusions
The current study demonstrates a method that successfully enhanced the knowledge of, skills in, and behavior of EBM. The data suggest competition using PICO queries may serve as an effective way to facilitate the learning of EBM.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-66
PMCID: PMC3661390  PMID: 23651869
25.  Towards evidence based medicine for paediatricians 
In order to give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence‐based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format which has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, though they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence‐based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been performed in a hierarchical way, to search for the best‐quality evidence to answer the question. (http://www.cebm.net). A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal, and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat), books by Sackett et al4 and Moyer et al5 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Electronic‐only topics that have been published on the BestBets site (www.bestbets.org) and may be of interest to paediatricians include:
When is a second course of indomethacin effective for PDA in neonates?
Does delayed cord clamping prevent sepsis?
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at www.bestbets.org. If your question still hasn't been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at www.archdischild.com. Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal:
In children aged <3 years does procalcitonin help exclude serious bacterial infection in fever without focus?
Does avoidance of breast feeding reduce mother‐to‐infant transmission of hepatitis C virus infection?
Should children under treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis receive flu vaccination?
CAN gambling with other people's children
When we use tests to “rule out” a condition, we generally accept that we are left with a small risk of being wrong. (I think we have all discharged a child with an “upper respiratory tract infection” on a Friday to be greeted with them on antibiotics for pneumonia the following Monday.) How much faith we place in a test result is a product of two things: our initial assumption about the likelihood of the diagnosis (pretest probability) and our opinion as to how effective the test is (accuracy), but our actions do not just reflect these factors.
For instance, a well, afebrile child with a scattering of petechiae over its wrist 8 hours before, is unlikely to have meningococcal disease. If you perform a couple of tests, you can find that it has a low C‐reactive protein and a normal full blood count. What we do with this varies widely; some people would treat this with 48 h of antibiotics, others would discharge the patient home.
It is interesting to reflect on two things: first, what chance of meningococcal disease would you put on this clinical picture (before the test), and what about with the test results? What about your colleagues? You may be surprised by how widely this varies. Second, even those who have the same estimates of risk of disease may have different preferred actions (depending on their attitude to risk).
In looking at the diagnostic test for the ruling out of a disease, we can make our arguments more useful by having some data on the assumptions we make, and then transparently discussing our attitudes to risk. It is only after doing this that we can really decide if a test is good enough for us, regardless of how accurate it might be.
References
1Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
5Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health. Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
PMCID: PMC2083694  PMID: 17376947

Results 1-25 (687699)