Purpose: To evaluate the knowledge and awareness of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) among members of the European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy (ESSKA).
Methods: A questionnaire was developed that explored the following areas: (i) respondents' attitudes to EBM; (ii) their motivation to implement EBM in daily practice; (iii) their educational background, knowledge and skills related to accessing and interpreting information; (iv) their level of attention to, and use of, scientific literature; (v) access to and availability of evidence; (vi) perceived barriers in using EBM in clinical practice. The resulting data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and the correlation between age, educational background and country was further investigated.
Results: Two-hundred and eighty-eight ESSKA members (11% of the total population) compiled the questionnaire. The participants covered all the five continents and an expected prevalence of European professionals (77%) was observed. The vast majority of participants were medical doctors (91%), mainly specialized in knee surgery with minimal involvement in research. 97% of the participants declared having some knowledge of EBM, acquired mainly during their professional education, with some geographical differences. The youngest clinicians and those from Eastern Europe reported the greatest difficulty in using EBM in daily practice. The application of EBM in clinical practice is positively affected by the time dedicated to research and negatively correlates with the time dedicated to patient care.
Conclusions: The results of this survey highlight the need for further investigation into the main reasons behind the limited diffusion of the EBM approach, despite the medical community's knowledge and interest in the concept. A wider application of EMB would upgrade clinical practice, linking medical knowledge and scientific evidence to patients' needs which would result of benefit to patients, but also more in general to the health system.
Keywords: Evidence-based medicine; Knowledge; Medical education; Orthopedics; Survey.