What are the barriers to residents' practicing evidence-based medicine? A systematic review

Acad Med. 2010 Jul;85(7):1163-70. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181d4152f.


Purpose: Insufficient time and lack of skills are important barriers to the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM). Residents could have additional barriers because their practice can be strongly influenced by the educational system and clinical supervisors. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to systematically appraise and summarize the literature on the barriers that residents experience in the application of EBM in daily practice.

Method: The authors searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and ERIC for publications preceding January 2008. Additionally, they manually screened the abstracts of relevant conferences (Association for Medical Education in Europe, Society of General Internal Medicine, Society of Medical Decision Making, Ottawa, and Evidence-Based Health Care Teachers & Developers) from January 2001 until January 2008. The search was extended by contacting experts in the field. Original studies on barriers to applying EBM in daily practice were included. Methodological quality was assessed and results were extracted by two reviewers using prespecified forms.

Results: The search resulted in 511 titles, 84 abstracts, and 3 studies suggested by experts, of which 9 were included in this review. The quality of the included studies was high. The most frequently mentioned barriers for residents were limited available time (28%-85%), attitude, and knowledge and skills. In four studies, specific barriers related to the position of residents, such as influences from staff members, lack of experience in EBM, and low possibilities to change conditions, were described.

Conclusions: Residents experience specific barriers to practice EBM. These barriers should be recognized and integrated into EBM training programs for residents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Medical Informatics
  • Motivation
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Care Team
  • Time Factors