Examining aptitude and barriers to evidence-based medicine among trainees at an ACGME-I accredited program

BMC Med Educ. 2020 Nov 10;20(1):414. doi: 10.1186/s12909-020-02341-9.


Background: The aims of Evidence-Based medicine (EBM) are to promote critical thinking and produces better patients' outcome (Profetto-McGrath J, J Prof Nurs Off J Am Assoc Coll Nurs 21:364-371, 2005). Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies require trainees to locate, appraise and apply clinical evidence to patients' care. Despite the emphasis that ACGME place on EBM, few organizations provide adequate training in EBM. This is even more critical in regions where medical trainees matriculate from diverse backgrounds of undergraduate medical education, where EBM may not be emphasized nor taught at all. EBM practice has a history of research in the West, however, EBM has not been widely studied in the Middle East.

Methods: Clinicians and trainees at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) matriculate from many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia. Because trainees in Graduate Medical Education (GME) come to HMC from a variety of geographic backgrounds, it is assumed that they also have a variety of experiences and aptitudes in EBM. To assess trainees EBM attitudes and knowledge in the internal medicine department at HMC in Doha, Qatar, the authors surveyed residents and fellows using a two-part survey. The first part was adapted from the evidence-based practice inventory by Kaper to assess trainees' attitudes and perceptions of EBM. Trainees were also asked to complete the Assessing Competency in Evidence Based Medicine (ACE) tool to evaluate their aptitude in different elements of EBM. The results from the two parts were analyzed.

Results: The average score on the ACE tool among the participants was 8.9 (±1.6). Most participants rated themselves as beginners or intermediate in their EBM capabilities. Higher ACE scores were observed from participants with educational background from South Asia, and among those with more favorable attitudes towards EBM. There was no clear pattern that early incorporation of EBM into practice will result in better ACE score. Participants also reported reasonable abilities in EBM tasks and a favorable work atmosphere for EBM implementation. Lack of knowledge, resources, and time were the most reported barriers to utilizing EBM.

Conclusions: While it is clear that participants are enthusiastic about EBM and see it as a useful method for clinical decision making, their aptitude in EBM is not optimal and there are gaps and barriers for them to practice.

Keywords: EBM practice; Trainees’ knowledge and attitude about EBM.