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.
The aim of this work is to propose an automatic query- focused, extractive summarisation approach that selects informative sentences from medical documents.
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.
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.
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.
Automatic summarisation; extractive summarisation evidence based medicine; medical document summarisation
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.
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.
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.
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.
Therapeutic Process; Evidence-Based Medicine; Decision Making; Health Information Technology; Guideline
The research sought to establish a rubric for evaluating evidence-based medicine (EBM) point-of-care tools in a health sciences library.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Cross sectional survey in 2006.
966 doctors who responded to a questionnaire (70% response rate).
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.
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.
The fundamental tenet of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is to “integrate the best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values,”1(p1) a commitment accepted in neuropsychiatry.2,3 The EBM group recognizes various factors that undermine the quality and use of evidence generated in research, “three limitations…to science and medicine-shortage of coherent evidence, difficulties applying evidence in care, and barriers to quality practice-and further impediments to EBM practice-practitioners lacking skills evaluating evidence sources, having limited time, and being unaware of support for EBM working, thus failing to follow its practices.”1(p7) Other risks to validity are less widely acknowledged.
Clinical trials (CTs), especially randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and summary reviews of results from more than 1 RCT provide EBM’s gold standard sources for sound evidence.1(pp105-144) Sackett et al 1 and other authors suggest subjecting RCTs and reviews of RCTs to specific tests of validity before the practitioner uses the evidence. We recently compiled additional threats to validity of the neuropsychiatric evidence base,4,5 a list already incomplete in view of recent concerns with industry influence evidenced by ghost authorships 6 and selective reporting.7,8 Each of the factors we compiled potentially affects the reliability and therefore the validity of the RCT evidence base, is not addressed systematically in EBM guidance on how to develop and use the research literature, and potentially impacts neuropsychiatric research by allowing drugs to fail because of the factor functioning as a methodological weakness in clinical studies.5
In this article, we (1) cull from the literature factors that methodologically put clinical research and the evidence base at risk, (2) uncover assumptions that may account for these factors going unnoticed as risks to medicine’s evidence base, and (3) suggest steps to increase the effectiveness of neuropsychiatric drug developments, CTs, and validity and use of the evidence base for practitioners. Specifically, we provide evidence that problems of unreliability caused by human errors and biases currently undermine the validity of psychiatric research. We suggest revisions of some assumptions behind research methods and practices as part of an effort to protect research from these errors and biases.4
clinical trials; errors; biases; real world conditions; protocol standards
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 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.
To assess awareness and use of evidence-based medicine (EBM) databases and The Cochrane Library among physicians in Croatia.
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.
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.
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.
As the name suggests, evidence-based medicine (EBM), is about finding evidence and using that evidence to make clinical decisions. A cornerstone of EBM is the hierarchical system of classifying evidence. This hierarchy is known as the levels of evidence. Physicians are encouraged to find the highest level of evidence to answer clinical questions. Several papers published in Plastic Surgery journals concerning EBM topics have touched on this subject.1–6 Specifically, previous papers have discussed the lack of higher level evidence in PRS and need to improve the evidence published in the journal. Before that can be accomplished, it is important to understand the history behind the levels and how they should be interpreted. This paper will focus on the origin of levels of evidence, their relevance to the EBM movement and the implications for the field of plastic surgery as well as the everyday practice of plastic surgery.
Evidence-based medicine; levels of evidence
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.
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.
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.
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%).
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.
evidence-based medicine; knowledge translation; faculty development
In 1992, Evidence-Based Medicine advocates proclaimed a "new paradigm", in which evidence from health care research is the best basis for decisions for individual patients and health systems. Hailed in New York Times Magazine in 2001 as one of the most influential ideas of the year, this approach was initially and provocatively pitted against the traditional teaching of medicine, in which the key elements of knowing for clinical purposes are understanding of basic pathophysiologic mechanisms of disease coupled with clinical experience. This paper reviews the origins, aspirations, philosophical limitations, and practical challenges of evidence-based medicine.
EBM has long since evolved beyond its initial (mis)conception, that EBM might replace traditional medicine. EBM is now attempting to augment rather than replace individual clinical experience and understanding of basic disease mechanisms. EBM must continue to evolve, however, to address a number of issues including scientific underpinnings, moral stance and consequences, and practical matters of dissemination and application. For example, accelerating the transfer of research findings into clinical practice is often based on incomplete evidence from selected groups of people, who experience a marginal benefit from an expensive technology, raising issues of the generalizability of the findings, and increasing problems with how many and who can afford the new innovations in care.
Advocates of evidence-based medicine want clinicians and consumers to pay attention to the best findings from health care research that are both valid and ready for clinical application. Much remains to be done to reach this goal.
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.
clinical practice; evidence-based medicine; survey
Occupational Physicians rely especially on advice from colleagues when answering their information demands. On the other hand, Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) promotes the use of up-to-date research literature instead of experts. To find out if there was a difference between expert-based practice and EBM we compared professional advice on occupational health topics with best evidence from the literature.
We asked 14 occupational physicians to consult their usual information sources on 12 pre-conceived occupational health problems. The problems were presented in the form of case vignettes which contained sufficient clinical information to be used by the occupational physicians for the consultation of their experts. We had searched the literature for the best available evidence on the 12 problems, which made it possible to answer the clinical questions with a clear yes or no.
The cases could be used by the occupational physicians as arising from their own practice. All together the occupational physicians consulted 75 different experts. Almost half of the consulted experts were near colleagues, 10% were industrial hygienists, 8% medical specialists and the rest had a varied background. Fifty three percent (95% confidence interval 42% to 65%) of all professional advice was not in line with the research literature. In 18 cases (24%) professional advice explicitly referred to up-to-date research literature as their used source. These cases were substantially less incorrect (17%) than advice that had not mentioned the literature as a source (65%) (difference 48%, 95% Confidence Interval from 27% to 69%).
Advice that occupational physicians routinely get in their daily practice differs substantially from best evidence from the literature. Occupational physicians who ask professional advice should always ask about the evidence of this advice.
To practice Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), physicians must quickly retrieve evidence to inform medical decisions. Internal Medicine (IM) residents receive little formal education in electronic database searching, and have identified poor searching skills as a barrier to practicing EBM.
To design and implement a database searching tutorial for IM residents on inpatient rotations and to evaluate its impact on residents’ skill and comfort searching MEDLINE and filtered EBM resources.
Randomized controlled trial. Residents randomized to the searching tutorial met for up to 6 1-hour small group sessions to search for answers to questions about current hospitalized patients.
Second- and 3rd-year IM residents.
Residents in both groups completed an Objective Structured Searching Evaluation (OSSE), searching for primary evidence to answer 5 clinical questions. OSSE outcomes were the number of successful searches, search times, and techniques utilized. Participants also completed self-assessment surveys measuring frequency and comfort using EBM databases.
During the OSSE, residents who participated in the intervention utilized more searching techniques overall (p < .01) and used PubMed’s Clinical Queries more often (p < .001) than control residents. Searching “success” and time per completed search did not differ between groups. Compared with controls, intervention residents reported greater comfort using MEDLINE (p < .05) and the Cochrane Library (p < .05) on post-intervention surveys. The groups did not differ in comfort using ACP Journal Club, or in self-reported frequency of use of any databases.
An inpatient EBM searching tutorial improved searching techniques of IM residents and resulted in increased comfort with MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library, but did not impact overall searching success.
evidence-based medicine; medical education; internship and residency; searching
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.
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.
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).
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.
To assess residents’ clinical questions, where they get their answers, the utility of those answers, and if an evidence-based medicine (EBM) workshop improves the use of evidence-based electronic resources.
Prospective observational cohort study.
Urban family medicine teaching clinics in Edmonton, Alta, in 2007.
First- and second-year family medicine residents training in the family medicine teaching units.
An observer recorded clinical questions posed by residents in clinic, the resources used to answer these questions, and how residents thought the answers modified practice. Resources were categorized broadly as colleagues, electronic, or paper. Answer utility was ranked in decreasing order as large change, small change, confirmed, expanded knowledge, or no help. Use of resources was compared before and after an EBM workshop, and between residents under normal supervision and those in semi-independent clinics.
Thirty-eight residents from 5 sites were observed addressing 325 questions in 114 clinical half-day sessions (420 patients). Residents had 0.8 questions per patient and answered 83.4% of questions with 1 resource (range 1 to 6). Residents made 406 attempts to answer questions, using colleagues 65.5% of the time (93.6% were preceptors), electronic resources 20.7% of the time, and paper resources 13.8% of the time. Answers from colleagues were least likely to require secondary resources (F test, P < .001). The utility of answers from colleagues (F test, P = .002) was superior to that of answers from electronic resources, and this difference remained significantly higher in sensitivity analysis. The EBM workshop training did not influence electronic resource use (17.8% before and 15.1% after, Fisher-Freeman-Halton test, P = .18), but semi-independence from preceptors increased the use of electronic resources from 16.5% to 51.0% (Fisher-Freeman-Halton test, P < .001).
Residents have many questions during clinical practice. Preceptors were used more commonly than all other resources combined and were the most dependable resource for residents to obtain answers. Although an EBM workshop was not associated with increased use of electronic evidence-based resources, semi-independent work appeared to be.
Evidence based medicine (EBM) is very important in the process of decision making, diagnosis and treatment of patients. For years, medical schools have developed instructions for EBM to determine the attitude and knowledge of physicians towards EBM and their related educational needs.
Materials and Methods
This study was a questionnaire study among physicians. One hundred twenty physicians were selected using stratified random sampling in Ilam. A main outcome measure was attitudes and knowledge of physicians toward EBM, ability to access and interpret evidence, and best method of moving from opinion based to EBM.
Of the 120 questionnaires we have sent, 94 (78.3%) were answered. 56.6% were using the internet to answer their patients questions and 23.8% used the internet to obtain clinical evidence. Mean and standard deviation (SD) of knowledge and attitude scores were 24% ± 23% and 72% ± 10%, respectively. Pearson correlation shows a significant relation between knowledge of physicians and years of graduation (r = -0.37, P = 0.00). There was a significant difference between mean of knowledge score of general practitioners, specialist and subspecialist (P = 0.026).
Knowledge and attitude of young physicians were more based on EBM compare to old physicians. A significant difference in knowledge mean score of physician shows that the EBM is still new in Iran, the future physician’s critical need to learn EBM and necessity of entering EMB at all medical levels.
Attitude; Knowledge; Evidence Based Medicine; Physician
The term "evidence-based medicine" (or EBM) was introduced about ten years ago, and there has been considerable debate about the value of EBM. However, this debate has sometimes been obscured by a lack of conceptual clarity concerning the nature and status of EBM.
First, we note that EBM proponents have obscured the current debate by defining EBM in an overly broad, indeed almost vacuous, manner; we offer a clearer account of EBM and its relation to the alternative approaches to medicine. Second, while EBM proponents commonly cite the philosophical work of Thomas Kuhn and claim that EBM is a Kuhnian 'paradigm shift,' we argue that such claims are seriously mistaken and unduly polarize the EBM debate. Third, we suggest that it is much more fruitful to understand the relationship between EBM and its alternatives in light of a different philosophical metaphor: W.V. Quine's metaphor of the web of belief. Seen in this way, we argue that EBM is an approach to medical practice that is indeed importantly different from the alternatives.
We can have a more productive debate about the value of EBM by being clearer about the nature of EBM and its relationship to alternative approaches to medicine.
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) has been increasingly integrated into medical education curricula. Using an observational research design, we evaluated the feasibility of introducing a 1-month problem-based EBM course for 139 first-year medical students at a large university center. We assessed program performance through the use of a web-based curricular component and practice exam, final examination scores, student satisfaction surveys, and a faculty questionnaire. Students demonstrated active involvement in learning EBM and ability to use EBM principles. Facilitators felt that students performed well and compared favorably with residents whom they had supervised in the past year. Both faculty and students were satisfied with the EBM course. To our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate that early introduction of EBM principles as a short course to preclinical medical students is feasible and practical.
evidence-based medicine; preclinical medical students; web-based curriculum; problem-based learning; medical education
Teaching of evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become widespread in medical education. Teaching the teachers (TTT) courses address the increased teaching demand and the need to improve effectiveness of EBM teaching. We conducted a systematic review of assessment tools for EBM TTT courses. To summarise and appraise existing assessment methods for teaching the teachers courses in EBM by a systematic review.
We searched PubMed, BioMed, EmBase, Cochrane and Eric databases without language restrictions and included articles that assessed its participants. Study selection and data extraction were conducted independently by two reviewers.
Of 1230 potentially relevant studies, five papers met the selection criteria. There were no specific assessment tools for evaluating effectiveness of EBM TTT courses. Some of the material available might be useful in initiating the development of such an assessment tool.
There is a need for the development of educationally sound assessment tools for teaching the teachers courses in EBM, without which it would be impossible to ascertain if such courses have the desired effect.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is being embraced by an increasing number of practitioners and advocates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). A significant constituency within CAM, however, appears to have substantive doubts about EBM and some are expressly hostile.
Many of the arguments raised against EBM within the CAM community are based on a caricature radically at odds with established, accepted and published principles of EBM practice. Contrary to what has sometimes been argued, EBM is not cookbook medicine that ignores individual needs. Neither does EBM mandate that only proven therapies should be used. Before EBM, decisions on health care tended to be based on tradition, power and influence. Such modes usually act to the disadvantage of marginal groups.
By placing CAM on an equal footing with conventional medicine - what matters for both is evidence of effectiveness - EBM provides an opportunity for CAM to find an appropriate and just place in health care.
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.