Purpose: We investigated the attitudes and opinions of urologists toward evidence-based medicine.
Materials and methods: In April of 2005 we contacted members of the American Urological Association listed with an e-mail address to participate in a web based survey. Participants were asked to characterize their level of agreement with statements referring to the role of evidence-based medicine in urology, to indicate their level of understanding of 15 evidence-based medicine related terms and to report their familiarity with 6 evidence-based medicine related resources.
Results: Of 8,100 American Urological Association members 714 (8.8%) responded to this survey. There was widespread agreement (median score 9) with the concept that evidence-based medicine improves patient care and that every urologist should be familiar with critical appraisal techniques. Select terms such as median/mean, selection bias and type I error were well understood ("understand and could explain to others") by 86%, 57% and 17%, respectively. The American Urological Association Best Practice Guidelines were the single best known resource that 91% of respondents reviewed or used regularly.
Conclusions: To our knowledge this survey represents the first evidence-based medicine survey of a large international group of urologists. Its results indicate that evidence-based medicine is viewed favorably and that the American Urological Association Best Practice Guidelines present a well accepted instrument for the dissemination of evidence-based medicine in urology. However, given the low response rate and the potential for selection bias, interpretation of these results must be performed with caution. Future efforts should be directed toward providing increased opportunities for urologists to learn the principles of critical appraisal, facilitating the application of evidence-based medicine in the community and promoting high quality research.