Objective: To assess the awareness, attitude and practice of evidence base medicine (EBM) among Al-Taif Consultant Physicians and to define the perceived barriers for practicing EBM.
Methods: It is a cross-sectional study conducted during December, 2004, at all governmental hospitals in Western region of Saudi Arabia at Al-Taif Governorate. Two hundred and eight self administrated questionnaires had been distributed to all consultant physicians in different specialties who met the inclusions criteria for this study.
Results: The response rate was 85.5% of more than 16 different specialties involved in this study with different types of qualifications. The internal consistency reliability coefficient (Cronbach's alpha), that measures current attitude, was 0.76. The majority of respondents had a positive attitude toward EBM; 97% were welcoming EBM, 48% of participants reported regular use of EBM in their daily clinical practice, 42% sometimes and 9% never practice EBM. No distributed updated clinical letters, journals or guidelines was considered as the major barrier to practice EBM (60.3%), followed by no time available (31%) and then unavailability of internet access at locality (24%). Many of the respondents did not engage or receive formal training in the search strategy (59.3%), critical appraisal (54.8%) and (92%) would like to attend courses relevant in practicing EBM in the future (p<0.05). Participants reported a low level of awareness to extracting journals, review publication and databases related to EBM.
Conclusion: Al-Taif Consultant Physicians appeared enthusiastic to utilize EBM in daily clinical practice with strong welcoming attitude to it; nevertheless, they need more knowledge and training on how to review publications, databases related to EBM and promote use of EBM in routine practice to be ensured that physicians have both the skills and knowledge to practice.