• Vol. 41 No. 1, 4–11
  • 15 January 2012

Two Strategies to Intensify Evidence-based Medicine Education of Undergraduate Students: A Randomised Controlled Tria

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Undergraduate evidence-based practice (EBP) is usually taught through standalone courses and workshops away from clinical practice. This study compared the effects of 2 clinically integrated educational strategies on final year medical students.

Materials and Methods: Final year medical students rotating to the general medicine service for a 2-week internship were randomly assigned to participate in a weekly EBP-structured case conference focusing on students’ primary care patients (Group A, n = 47), or to receive a weekly didactic lecture about EBP (Group B, n = 47). The teaching effects of these 2 interventions were evaluated by a validated instrument for assessment of EBP related knowledge (EBP-K), attitude (EBP-A), personal application (EBP-P), and anticipated future use (EBP-F) on the first and last days of rotation.

Results: All scores improved significantly after the 2-week EBM-teaching for both groups. When compared to Group B, students in Group A had significantly higher post-intervention scores of EBP-K (21.2 ± 3.5 vs 19.0 ± 4.6; ie. 57.8 ± 72.9% vs 29.1 ± 39.1%; P <0.01) and EBP-P (18.7 ± 4.3 vs 15.3 ± 3.9; ie. 28.5 ± 25.5 % vs 14.1 ± 18.7 %; P <0.001). In contrast, the scores of EBP-A and EBP-F were similar between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: Structured case conference, when compared to the didactic lectures, significantly improved EBP-K and EBP-P for final year medical students.


Knowledge and skills of evidence-based medicine (EBM) can be taught by many methods, such as role modeling evidence-based care, using evidence for clinical medicine instruction, and teaching specific EBM skills. Standalone courses and workshops away from the clinical environment are usually the traditional educational designs for teachers to convey knowledge or skills of evidence-based practice (EBP). Previous systematic reviews have demonstrated the efficacy of integrated courses in teaching EBM and that these integrated strategies are superior to standalone teaching for postgraduates. Emphasis on incorporating EBM principles in undergraduate medical education has been stressed by many associations.

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