Evidence-based medicine curricula and barriers for physicians in training: a scoping review

Int J Med Educ. 2021 May 28;12:101-124. doi: 10.5116/ijme.6097.ccc0.


Objectives: To describe the published literature on EBM curricula for physicians in training and barriers during curriculum implementation.

Methods: We performed a systematic search and review of the medical literature on PubMed, Embase, ERIC, Scopus and Web of Science from the earliest available date until September 4, 2019.

Results: We screened 9,042 references and included 29 full-text studies and 14 meeting abstracts. Eighteen studies had moderate validity, and 6 had high validity. The EBM curricular structure proved highly variable in between studies. The majority of the EBM curricula was longitudinal with different lengths. Only five studies reported using Kern's six-step approach for curriculum development. Twenty-one articles reported on EBM skills and knowledge, and only 5/29 full-text articles used a validated assessment tool. Time was the main barrier to EBM curriculum implementation. All the included studies and abstracts, independent of the EBM curriculum structure or evaluation method used, found an improvement in the residents' attitudes and/or EBM skills and knowledge.

Conclusions: The current body of literature available to guide educators in EBM curriculum development is enough to constitute a strong scaffold for developing any EBM curriculum. Given the amount of time and resources needed to develop and implement an EBM curriculum, it is very important to follow the curriculum development steps and use validated assessment tools.

Keywords: barriers; curriculum development; evidence-based medicine; resident; scoping review.

Publication types

  • Review