Views of Australian and New Zealand radiation oncologists and registrars about evidence-based medicine and their access to Internet based sources of evidence

Australas Radiol. 2003 Dec;47(4):409-15. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1673.2003.01211.x.


In order to determine the views of Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) radiation oncologists and registrars about evidence-based medicine (EBM) and their access to, and use of, Internet-based EBM resources such as MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library, a self-administered postal survey was sent out in December 2000. A total of 191 of 243 practicing ANZ radiation radiation oncologists (138) and registrars (53) responded (78.6% response rate). The main outcome measures were: (i) views about EBM and its promotion; (ii) previous EBM training; (iii) extent of Internet access and level of MEDLINE use and access to online medical journals; (iv) awareness of the Cochrane Library and other EBM resources; and (v) self-assessment of common EBM technical terms. The results of the survey found that most (82.7%) indicated a positive view of themselves towards the current promotion of EBM. However, significantly fewer perceived their colleagues were as positive (chi2 = 35.2, d.f. = 1, P < 0.001). Most (84.8%) considered research findings 'useful' in day-to-day management of patients. The majority (70.2%) of respondents never had attended an EBM course; however, most indicated interest in such training. The majority (73.8%) reported having accessed MEDLINE or another bibliographic database in the previous month. Seventy-seven respondents (40.3%) reported that, in the past month, a literature search/article had influenced their practice. Only a minority (28.3%) used the Cochrane Library. Self-assessment of most of the 12 EBM terms was generally high. For radiation oncologists, past attendance at an EBM course was significantly associated with a better overall self-assessment of these 12 terms (chi2 = 10.59, d.f. = 1, P = 0.001). These findings reveal strong support for EBM among ANZ radiation oncologists and registrars with most regularly accessing the Internet for evidence. However, lack of awareness of some relevant EBM related resources, particularly the Cochrane Library, remains a challenge. Our findings invite a concerted effort by those promoting EBM to ensure clinicians have both the skills and knowledge to practice EBM.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • New Zealand
  • Radiation Oncology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires