Randomised controlled trial of a theoretically grounded tailored intervention to diffuse evidence-based public health practice [ISRCTN23257060]

BMC Med Educ. 2003 Mar 13:3:2. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-3-2.


Background: Previous studies have shown that Norwegian public health physicians do not systematically and explicitly use scientific evidence in their practice. They work in an environment that does not encourage the integration of this information in decision-making. In this study we investigate whether a theoretically grounded tailored intervention to diffuse evidence-based public health practice increases the physicians' use of research information.

Methods: 148 self-selected public health physicians were randomised to an intervention group (n = 73) and a control group (n = 75). The intervention group received a multifaceted intervention while the control group received a letter declaring that they had access to library services. Baseline assessments before the intervention and post-testing immediately at the end of a 1.5-year intervention period were conducted. The intervention was theoretically based and consisted of a workshop in evidence-based public health, a newsletter, access to a specially designed information service, to relevant databases, and to an electronic discussion list. The main outcome measure was behaviour as measured by the use of research in different documents.

Results: The intervention did not demonstrate any evidence of effects on the objective behaviour outcomes. We found, however, a statistical significant difference between the two groups for both knowledge scores: Mean difference of 0.4 (95% CI: 0.2-0.6) in the score for knowledge about EBM-resources and mean difference of 0.2 (95% CI: 0.0-0.3) in the score for conceptual knowledge of importance for critical appraisal. There were no statistical significant differences in attitude-, self-efficacy-, decision-to-adopt- or job-satisfaction scales. There were no significant differences in Cochrane library searching after controlling for baseline values and characteristics.

Conclusion: Though demonstrating effect on knowledge the study failed to provide support for the hypothesis that a theory-based multifaceted intervention targeted at identified barriers will change professional behaviour.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Public Health*

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN23257060