Background: Despite a recent increase in activities to promote evidence-based practice (EBP), it was unclear how Malaysian hospital practitioners received this new approach in medicine. This study examines their confidence and perceptions on EBP.
Findings: We conducted cross-sectional surveys using a self-administered questionnaire during two EBP training courses in two Malaysian hospitals in January and June 2007. Our subjects (n = 144) were doctors and nursing and allied health staff (NAH) participating in the EBP courses. Our questionnaire covered three domains: confidence and understanding (six items), attitude (five items) and barriers to practice (four items). We presented simple descriptive statistics, including the sum ratings and the proportions with different responses for each item, and compared different groups using Mann-Whitney U test for scaled ratings and Chi-square test for dichotomous responses.Ninety-two doctors and 52 NAH staff completed the surveys. Overall, doctors expressed slightly higher confidence on EBP compared to NAH staff. Out of a maximum sum rating of 27 over six items, doctors reported an average of 18.3 (SD 3.2) and NAH staff reported an average of 16.0 (SD 3.4), p = 0.002. Doctors were also more positive in their views on EBP. For example, 67.4% of doctors disagreed, but 61% of NAH staff agreed that "the importance of EBP in patient care is exaggerated", and 79.3% of doctors disagreed, but 46.2% of NAH staff agreed that "EBP is too tedious and impractical". Similar responses were observed for other items in the domain.Doctors and NAH staff shared similar concerns on barriers to evidence-based practice. The highest proportions considered poor facilities to access evidence a barrier (76% of doctors and 90% of NAH), followed by poor awareness of evidence (62% of doctors and 70% of NAH) and time constraints (63% of doctors and 68% of NAH), p = 0.09 for the combined rating of four items in the domain.
Conclusions: The findings of our survey suggest a need for greater efforts in promoting EBP among Malaysian hospital practitioners especially for NAH staff. From the responses based on the barriers to EBP, improving facilities for accessing evidence and promoting more user-friendly resources to address time constraints appear to be the priorities.