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.
Background and objectives
Evidence-based health care requires clinicians to engage with use of evidence in decision-making at the workplace. A learner-centred, problem-based course that integrates e-learning in the clinical setting has been developed for application in obstetrics and gynaecology units. The course content uses the WHO reproductive health library (RHL) as the resource for systematic reviews. This project aims to evaluate a clinically integrated teaching programme for incorporation of evidence provided through the WHO RHL. The hypothesis is that the RHL-EBM (clinically integrated e-learning) course will improve participants' knowledge, skills and attitudes, as well as institutional practice and educational environment, as compared to the use of standard postgraduate educational resources for EBM teaching that are not clinically integrated.
The study will be a multicentre, cluster randomized controlled trial, carried out in seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand), involving 50-60 obstetrics and gynaecology teaching units. The trial will be carried out on postgraduate trainees in the first two years of their training. In the intervention group, trainees will receive the RHL-EBM course. The course consists of five modules, each comprising self-directed e-learning components and clinically related activities, assignments and assessments, coordinated between the facilitator and the postgraduate trainee. The course will take about 12 weeks, with assessments taking place pre-course and 4 weeks post-course. In the control group, trainees will receive electronic, self-directed EBM-teaching materials. All data collection will be online.
The primary outcome measures are gain in EBM knowledge, change in attitudes towards EBM and competencies in EBM measured by multiple choice questions (MCQs) and a skills-assessing questionniare administered eletronically. These questions have been developed by using questions from validated questionnaires and adapting them to the current course. Secondary outcome measure will be educational environment towards EBM which will be assessed by a specifically developed questionnaire.
The trial will determine whether the RHL EBM (clinically integrated e-leraning) course will increase knowledge, skills and attitudes towards EBM and improve the educational environment as compared to standard teaching that is not clinically integrated. If effective, the RHL-EBM course can be implemented in teaching institutions worldwide in both, low-and middle income countries as well as industrialized settings. The results will have a broader impact than just EBM training because if the approach is successful then the same educational strategy can be used to target other priority clinical and methodological areas.
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
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.
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.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become an important part of residency education, yet many EBM curricula lack a valid and standardized tool to identify learners' prior knowledge and assess progress.
We developed an EBM examination in psychiatry to measure our effectiveness in teaching comprehensive EBM to residents.
We developed a psychiatry EBM test using the validated EBM Fresno Test of Competence for family medicine. The test consists of case scenarios with open-ended questions. We also developed a scoring rubric and obtained reliability with multiple raters. Fifty-seven residents provided test data after completing 3, 6, 25, or 31 EBM sessions. The number of sessions for each resident was based on their length of training in our program.
The examination had strong interrater reliability, internal reliability, and item discrimination. Many residents showed significant improvement on their examination scores when data were compared from tests taken before and after a sequence of teaching sessions. Also, a threshold for the level of expert on the examination was established using test data from 5 EBM teacher-experts.
We successfully developed a valid and reliable EBM examination for use with psychiatry residents to measure essential EBM skills as part of a larger project to encourage EBM practice for residents in routine patient care. The test provides information on residents' knowledge in EBM from entry level concepts through expert performance. It can be used to place incoming residents in appropriate levels of an EBM curriculum and to monitor the effectiveness of EBM instruction.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become standard approach in medicine. Patients and health authorities increasingly claim active patient roles in decision making. Education to cope with these roles might be useful. We investigated the feasibility, acceptability and possible impact of EBM training courses for patient and consumer representatives.
We designed a generic one-week EBM course based on previous experience with EBM courses for non-medical health professionals. A course specific competence test has been developed and validated to measure EBM skills. Formative and summative evaluation of the course comprised: 1) EBM skills; 2) individual learning goals; 3) self-reported implementation after six months using semi-structured interviews; 4) group-based feedback by content analysis. EBM skills' achievement was compared to results gathered by a group of undergraduate University students of Health Sciences and Education who had attended a comparable EBM seminar.
Fourteen EBM courses were conducted including 161 participants without previous EBM training (n = 54 self-help group representatives, n = 64 professional counsellors, n = 36 patient advocates, n = 7 others); 71% had a higher education degree; all but five finished the course. Most participants stated personal learning goals explicitly related to practicing EBM such as acquisition of critical appraisal skills (n = 130) or research competencies (n = 67). They rated the respective relevance of the course on average with 80% (SD 4) on a visual analogue scale ranging from 0 to 100%.
Participants passed the competence test with a mean score of 14.7 (SD 3.0, n = 123) out of 19.5 points. The comparison group of students achieved a mean score of 14.4 (SD 3.3, n = 43). Group-based feedback revealed increases of self confidence, empowerment through EBM methodology and statistical literacy, and acquisition of new concepts of patient information and counselling. Implementation of EBM skills was reported by 84 of the 129 (65%) participants available for follow-up interviews. Barriers included lack of further support, limited possibilities to exchange experiences, and feeling discouraged by negative reactions of health professionals.
Training in basic EBM competencies for selected patient and consumer representatives is feasible and accepted and may affect counselling and advocacy activities. Implementation of EBM skills needs support beyond the training course.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an important element of medical education. However, limited information is available on effective curricula.
To evaluate a longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum using validated instruments.
DESIGN, PARTICIPANTS, MEASUREMENTS
We evaluated EBM attitudes and knowledge of medical students as they progressed through an EBM curriculum. The first component of the curriculum was an EBM “short course” with didactic and small-group sessions occurring at the end of the second year. The second component integrated EBM assignments with third-year clinical rotations. The 15-point Berlin Questionnaire was administered before the course in 2006 and 2007, after the short course, and at the end of the third year. The 212-point Fresno Test was administered before the course in 2007 and 2008, after the short course, and at the end of the third year. Self-reported knowledge and attitudes were also assessed in all three classes of medical students.
EBM knowledge scores on the 15-point Berlin Questionnaire increased from baseline by 3.0 points (20.0%) at the end of the second year portion of the course (p < 001) and by 3.4 points (22.7%) at the end of the third year (p < 001). EBM knowledge scores on the 212-point Fresno Test increased from baseline by 39.7 points (18.7%) at the end of the second year portion of the course (p < 001) and by 54.6 points (25.8%) at the end of the third year (p < 001). On a 5-point scale, self-rated EBM knowledge increased from baseline by 1.0 and 1.4 points, respectively (both p < 001). EBM was felt to be of high importance for medical education and clinical practice at all time points, with increases noted after both components of the curriculum.
A longitudinal medical school EBM was associated with markedly increased EBM knowledge on two validated instruments. Both components of the curriculum were associated with gains in knowledge. The curriculum was also associated with increased perceptions of the importance of EBM for medical education and clinical practice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1642-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
medical education; evidence-based medicine; medical school
Health care professionals worldwide attend courses and workshops to learn evidence-based medicine (EBM), but evidence regarding the impact of these educational interventions is conflicting and of low methodologic quality and lacks generalizability. Furthermore, little is known about determinants of success. We sought to measure the effect of EBM short courses and workshops on knowledge and to identify course and learner characteristics associated with knowledge acquisition.
Health care professionals with varying expertise in EBM participated in an international, multicentre before–after study. The intervention consisted of short courses and workshops on EBM offered in diverse settings, formats and intensities. The primary outcome measure was the score on the Berlin Questionnaire, a validated instrument measuring EBM knowledge that the participants completed before and after the course.
A total of 15 centres participated in the study and 420 learners from North America and Europe completed the study. The baseline score across courses was 7.49 points (range 3.97–10.42 points) out of a possible 15 points. The average increase in score was 1.40 points (95% confidence interval 0.48–2.31 points), which corresponded with an effect size of 0.44 standard deviation units. Greater improvement in scores was associated (in order of greatest to least magnitude) with active participation required of the learners, a separate statistics session, fewer topics, less teaching time, fewer learners per tutor, larger overall course size and smaller group size. Clinicians and learners involved in medical publishing improved their score more than other types of learners; administrators and public health professionals improved their score less. Learners who perceived themselves to have an advanced knowledge of EBM and had prior experience as an EBM tutor also showed greater improvement than those who did not.
EBM course organizers who wish to optimize knowledge gain should require learners to actively participate in the course and should consider focusing on a small number of topics, giving particular attention to statistical concepts.
To evaluate the educational effects of a clinically integrated e-learning course for teaching basic evidence-based medicine (EBM) among postgraduates compared to a traditional lecture-based course of equivalent content.
We conducted a cluster randomised controlled trial in the Netherlands and the UK involving postgraduate trainees in six obstetrics and gynaecology departments. Outcomes (knowledge gain and change in attitude towards EBM) were compared between the clinically integrated e-learning course (intervention) and the traditional lecture based course (control). We measured change from pre- to post-intervention scores using a validated questionnaire assessing knowledge (primary outcome) and attitudes (secondary outcome).
There were six clusters involving teaching of 61 postgraduate trainees (28 in the intervention and 33 in the control group). The intervention group achieved slightly higher scores for knowledge gain compared to the control, but these results were not statistically significant (difference in knowledge gain: 3.5 points, 95% CI -2.7 to 9.8, p = 0.27). The attitudinal changes were similar for both groups.
A clinically integrated e-learning course was at least as effective as a traditional lecture based course and was well accepted. Being less costly than traditional teaching and allowing for more independent learning through materials that can be easily updated, there is a place for incorporating e-learning into postgraduate EBM curricula that offer on-the-job training for just-in-time learning.
Trial registration number: ACTRN12609000022268.
In response to the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) standards set forth in 2008, osteopathic medical schools are restructuring curricula to demonstrate they are teaching the seven core competencies and integrating evidence-based medicine (EBM) throughout all 4 years of training.
To describe and evaluate the efforts of a college of osteopathic medicine to integrate EBM concepts into its curriculum while maintaining existing course content and faculty contact hours.
One-group pre- and posttest study.
Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine-A.T. Still University (KCOM) in Missouri.
KCOM course directors in workshop series I (n=20) and KCOM faculty workshop series II (n=14).
A faculty development workshop series based on the diffusion of innovations model was instituted to facilitate cultural change, gain faculty support, and accelerate the implementation of EBM throughout KCOM’s curriculum.
Faculty attitudes, confidence levels, and the number of courses that included instruction of EBM concepts were measured in August 2007 and May 2008.
Faculty attitudes about integrating EBM into the curriculum and confidence levels measured pre- and postworkshop series found that 21 of 26 participants believed they improved their ability to locate primary EBM resources using the Internet; 21 of 28 improved their ability to teach EBM concepts to students. Fifteen of 16 faculty course directors agreed to find ways to incorporate EBM into their classes. Review of KCOM’s course syllabi in April 2009 demonstrated a statistically significant difference (P<.001) in the number of faculty teaching EBM concepts after the faculty development workshop series concluded in March 2008 compared to before the series commenced in March 2006. An unexpected outcome was the implementation of a faculty-conceived, standalone EBM course in fall 2007.
A workshop series based on the diffusion of innovations model is effective in garnering faculty support for the implementation of a change in curriculum that emphasizes EBM content without increasing faculty contact hours or eliminating existing curricular content. A faculty development model emphasizing a “bottom-to-top” approach is effective in achieving workplace culture changes and seamless curricular transitions. Results have shown that a consensus building model is conducive to engaging faculty and garnering its support to effect curricular change, which, ultimately, ensures success.
To develop and implement an evidence-based medicine (EBM) curriculum and determine its effectiveness in improving residents' EBM behaviors and skills.
Description of the curriculum and a multifaceted evaluation, including a pretest-posttest controlled trial.
University-based primary care internal medicine residency program.
Second- and third-year internal medicine residents (N =34).
A 7-week EBM curriculum in which residents work through the steps of evidence-based decisions for their own patients. Based on adult learning theory, the educational strategy included a resident-directed tutorial format, use of real clinical encounters, and specific EBM facilitating techniques for faculty.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Behaviors and self-assessed competencies in EBM were measured with questionnaires. Evidence-based medicine skills were assessed with a 17-point test, which required free text responses to questions based on a clinical vignette and a test article. After the intervention, residents participating in the curriculum (case subjects) increased their use of original studies to answer clinical questions, their examination of methods and results sections of articles, and their self-assessed EBM competence in three of five domains of EBM, while the control subjects did not. The case subjects significantly improved their scores on the EBM skills test (8.5 to 11.0, p =.001), while the control subjects did not (8.5 to 7.1, p =.09). The difference in the posttest scores of the two groups was 3.9 points (p =.001, 95% confidence interval 1.9, 5.9).
An EBM curriculum based on adult learning theory improves residents' EBM skills and certain EBM behaviors. The description and multifaceted evaluation can guide medical educators involved in EBM training.
evidence-based medicine (EBM); curriculum; residents; medical education; adult learning theory
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Evidence-based medicine; Undergraduate medical education; Curriculum development; Educational assessment; Critical appraisal skills
Recent surveys suggest few emergency medicine (EM) training programs have formal evidence-based medicine (EBM) or journal club curricula. Our primary objective was to describe the methods of EBM training in Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) EM residencies. Secondary objectives were to explore attitudes regarding current educational practices including e-learning, investigate barriers to journal club and EBM education, and assess the desire for national collaboration.
A 16-question survey containing binary, open-ended, and 5-pt Likert scale questions was distributed to the 14 RCPSC-EM program directors. Proportions of respondents (%), median, and IQR are reported.
The response rate was 93% (13/14). Most programs (85%) had established EBM curricula. Curricula content was delivered most frequently via journal club, with 62% of programs having 10 or more sessions annually. Less than half of journal clubs (46%) were led consistently by EBM experts. Four programs did not use a critical appraisal tool in their sessions (31%). Additional teaching formats included didactic and small group sessions, self-directed e-learning, EBM workshops, and library tutorials. 54% of programs operated educational websites with EBM resources. Program directors attributed highest importance to two core goals in EBM training curricula: critical appraisal of medical literature, and application of literature to patient care (85% rating 5 - “most importance”, respectively). Podcasts, blogs, and online journal clubs were valued for EBM teaching roles including creating exposure to literature (4, IQR 1.5) and linking literature to clinical practice experience (4, IQR 1.5) (1-no merit, 5-strong merit). Five of thirteen respondents rated lack of expert leadership and trained faculty educators as potential limitations to EBM education. The majority of respondents supported the creation of a national unified EBM educational resource (4, IQR 1) (1-no support, 5- strongly support).
RCPSC-EM programs have established EBM teaching curricula and deliver content most frequently via journal club. A lack of EBM expert educators may limit content delivery at certain sites. Program directors supported the nationalization of EBM educational resources. A growing usage of electronic resources may represent an avenue to link national EBM educational expertise, facilitating future collaborative educational efforts.
Evidence-based medicine; Medical education; Emergency medicine; E-learning; Journal club
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is increasingly taught in medical schools, but few curricula have been evaluated using validated instruments.
To evaluate a longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum using a validated instrument.
Design, Participants, Measurements
We evaluated EBM attitudes and knowledge of 32 medical students as they progressed through an EBM curriculum. The first part was an EBM “short course” with didactic and small-group sessions occurring at the end of the second year. The second part integrated EBM assignments with third-year clinical rotations. The validated 15-item Berlin Questionnaire was administered before the course, after the short course, and at the end of the third year.
EBM knowledge scores increased from baseline by 2.8 points at the end of the second year portion of the course (p = .0001), and by 3.7 points at the end of the third year (p < .0001). Self-rated EBM knowledge increased from baseline by 0.8 and 1.1 points, respectively (p = .0006 and p < .0001, respectively). EBM was felt to be of high importance for medical education and clinical practice at all time points, peaking after the short course.
A longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum was associated with increased EBM knowledge. This knowledge increase was sustained throughout the curriculum.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0625-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
medical education; evidence-based medicine; medical school
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) 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.
We aimed to evaluate the EBM program implemented at Hacettepe University School of Medicine.
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.
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.
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.
evidence-based medicine; spiral curriculum; medical education
Teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM) should be evaluated and guided by evidence of its own effectiveness. However, no data are available on adoption of EBM by Syrian undergraduate, postgraduate, or practicing physicians. In fact, the teaching of EBM in Syria is not yet a part of undergraduate medical curricula. The authors evaluated education of evidence-based medicine through a two-day intensive training course.
The authors evaluated education of evidence-based medicine through a two-day intensive training course that took place in 2011. The course included didactic lectures as well as interactive hands-on workshops on all topics of EBM. A comprehensive questionnaire, that included the Berlin questionnaire, was used to inspect medical students’ awareness of, attitudes toward, and competencies’ in EBM.
According to students, problems facing proper EBM practice in Syria were the absence of the following: an EBM teaching module in medical school curriculum (94%), role models among professors and instructors (92%), a librarian (70%), institutional subscription to medical journals (94%), and sufficient IT hardware (58%). After the course, there was a statistically significant increase in medical students' perceived ability to go through steps of EBM, namely: formulating PICO questions (56.9%), searching for evidence (39.8%), appraising the evidence (27.3%), understanding statistics (48%), and applying evidence at point of care (34.1%). However, mean increase in Berlin scores after the course was 2.68, a non-statistically significant increase of 17.86%.
The road to a better EBM reality in Syria starts with teaching EBM in medical school and developing the proper environment to facilitate transforming current medical education and practice to an evidence-based standard in Syria.
To evaluate the effect of the integration of evidence-based medicine (EBM) into medical curriculum by measuring undergraduate medical students’ EBM knowledge, attitudes, personal application, and anticipated future use.
A self-controlled trial was conducted with 251 undergraduate students at a Chinese Military Medical University, using a validated questionnaire regarding the students’ evidence-based practice (EBP) about knowledge (EBP-K), attitude (EBP-A), personal application (EBP-P), and future anticipated use (EBP-F). The educational intervention was a 20-hour EBM course formally included in the university’s medical curriculum, combining lectures with small group discussion and student-teacher exchange sessions. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests to test the significance of the difference between a before and after comparison.
The difference between the pre- and post-training scores were statistically significant for EBP-K, EBP-A, EBP-P, and EBP-F. The scores for EBP-P showed the most pronounced percentage change after EBM training (48.97 ± 8.6%), followed by EBP-A (20.83 ± 2.1%), EBP-K (19.21 ± 3.2%), and EBP-F (17.82 ± 5.7%). Stratified analyses by gender, and program subtypes did not result in any significant changes to the results.
The integration of EBM into the medical curriculum improved undergraduate medical students’ EBM knowledge, attitudes, personal application, and anticipated future use. A well-designed EBM training course and objective outcome measurements are necessary to ensure the optimum learning opportunity for students.
Evidence-based medicine; Education; Medical; Evaluation
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.
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.
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.
student-selected component; evidence-based medicine; learning; curriculum
The authors conducted a survey examining (1) the current state of evidence-based medicine (EBM) curricula in US and Canadian medical schools and corresponding learning objectives, (2) medical educators' and librarians' participation in EBM training, and (3) barriers to EBM training.
A survey instrument with thirty-four closed and open-ended questions was sent to curricular deans at US and Canadian medical schools. The survey sought information on enrollment and class size; EBM learning objectives, curricular activities, and assessment approaches by year of training; EBM faculty; EBM tools; barriers to implementing EBM curricula and possible ways to overcome them; and innovative approaches to EBM education. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used for data analysis. Measurable learning objectives were categorized using Bloom's taxonomy.
One hundred fifteen medical schools (77.2%) responded. Over half (53%) of the 900 reported learning objectives were measurable. Knowledge application was the predominant category from Bloom's categories. Most schools integrated EBM into other curricular activities; activities and formal assessment decreased significantly with advanced training. EBM faculty consisted primarily of clinicians, followed by basic scientists and librarians. Various EBM tools were used, with PubMed and the Cochrane database most frequently cited. Lack of time in curricula was rated the most significant barrier. National agreement on required EBM competencies was an extremely helpful factor. Few schools shared innovative approaches.
Schools need help in overcoming barriers related to EBM curriculum development, implementation, and assessment.
Findings can provide a starting point for discussion to develop a standardized competency framework.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is a core unit delivered across many medical schools. Few studies have investigated the most effective method of teaching a course in EBM to medical students. The objective of this study was to identify whether a blended-learning approach to teaching EBM is more effective a didactic-based approach at increasing medical student competency in EBM.
A mixed-methods study was conducted consisting of a controlled trial and focus groups with second year graduate medical students. Students received the EBM course delivered using either a didactic approach (DID) to learning EBM or a blended-learning approach (BL). Student competency in EBM was assessed using the Berlin tool and a criterion-based assessment task, with student perceptions on the interventions assessed qualitatively.
A total of 61 students (85.9%) participated in the study. Competency in EBM did not differ between the groups when assessed using the Berlin tool (p = 0.29). Students using the BL approach performed significantly better in one of the criterion-based assessment tasks (p = 0.01) and reported significantly higher self-perceived competence in critical appraisal skills. Qualitative analysis identified that students had a preference for the EBM course to be delivered using the BL approach.
Implementing a blended-learning approach to EBM teaching promotes greater student appreciation of EBM principles within the clinical setting. Integrating a variety of teaching modalities and approaches can increase student self-confidence and assist in bridging the gap between the theory and practice of EBM.
Evidence based medicine; Blended learning; Graduate medical education; Pedagogy
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
Teaching the steps of evidence-based medicine (EBM) to undergraduate as well as postgraduate health care professionals is crucial for implementation of effective, beneficial health care practices and abandonment of ineffective, harmful ones. Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, offers a 12-week, completely online module on EBM within the Family Medicine division, to medical specialists in their first year of training. The aim of this study was to formatively evaluate this module; assessing both the mode of delivery; as well as the perceived effectiveness and usefulness thereof.
We used mixed methods to evaluate this module: A document review to assess whether the content of the module reflects important EBM competencies; a survey of the students to determine their experiences of the module; and semi-structured interviews with the tutors to explore their perspectives of the module. Ethics approval was obtained.
The document review indicated that EBM competencies were covered adequately, although critical appraisal only focused on randomised controlled trials and guidelines. Students had a positive attitude towards the module, but felt that they needed more support from the tutors. Tutors felt that students engaged actively in discussions, but experienced difficulties with understanding certain concepts of EBM. Furthermore, they felt that it was challenging explaining these via the online learning platform and saw the need to incorporate more advanced technology to better connect with the students. In their view the key to successful learning of EBM was to keep it relevant and applicable to everyday practice. Tutors also felt that an online module on EBM was advantageous, since doctors from all over the world were able to participate.
Our study has shown that the online module on EBM was effective in increasing EBM knowledge and skills of postgraduate students and was well received by both students and tutors. Students and tutors experienced generic challenges that accompany any educational intervention of EBM (e.g. understanding difficult concepts), but in addition had to deal with challenges unique to the online learning environment. Teachers of EBM should acknowledge these so as to enhance and successfully implement EBM teaching and learning for all students.
Evidence-based medicine; Postgraduate; Online learning; Evaluation
Many medical schools teach the principles of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) as a subject within their medical curriculum. Few studies have explored the barriers and enablers that students experience when studying medicine and attempting to integrate EBM in their clinical experience. The aim of this study was to identify undergraduate medical student perceptions of EBM, including their current use of its principles as students and perceived future use as clinicians.
Third year medical students were recruited via email to participate in focus group discussions. Four focus groups were conducted separately across four hospital sites. All focus groups were conducted by the same facilitator. All discussions were transcribed verbatim, and analysed independently by the two authors according to the principles of thematic analysis.
Focus group discussions were conducted with 23 third-year medical students, representing three metropolitan and one rural hospital sites. Five key themes emerged from the analysis of the transcripts: (1) Rationale and observed use of EBM in practice, (2) Current use of EBM as students, (3) Perceived use of EBM as future clinicians, (4) Barriers to practicing EBM, and (5) Enablers to facilitate the integration of EBM into clinical practice. Key facilitators for promoting EBM to students include competency in EBM, mentorship and application to clinical disciplines. Barriers to EBM implementation include lack of visible application by senior clinicians and constraints by poor resourcing.
The principles and application of EBM is perceived by medical students to be important in both their current clinical training and perceived future work as clinicians. Future research is needed to identify how medical students incorporate EBM concepts into their clinical practice as they gain greater clinical exposure and competence.