Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a core competence in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula. However, its integration into curricula varies widely. Our study will help medical colleges develop, implement and evaluate their EBM courses. We assessed the effectiveness of workshops in improving critical appraisal skills among medical students.
A before-and-after study design without a control group was used. A 5-week short EBM module including lectures, workshops, and online search sessions was conducted with 52 fourth-year medical students during their primary healthcare course at the College of Medicine, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS statistical software (version 20, SPSS Inc., Chicago, US). Parametric tests as well as Student’s paired t-test for pre- and post-test comparisons were used.
Forty-nine (49) participants completed the pre- and post-training Fresno tests, and 44.9% of the participants had a GPA of 4.0 or higher. The mean Fresno test score increased from 45.63 (SD 21.89) on the pre-test to 64.49 (SD 33.31) on the post-test, with significant improvements in the following items: Searching strategies, Relevance, Internal validity, Magnitude & significance of results, Statistical values of diagnosis studies (sensitivity, specificity, and LR), Statistical values of therapy studies (ARR, RRR, and NNT), and Best study design for diagnosis and prognosis (P < 0.05).
This study supports that short course in EBM that is incorporated into the undergraduate curriculum especially in the clinical years might be effective in improving medical students’ knowledge and skills in EBM. However, prospective studies are necessary to assess the long-term impact of these interventions and ultimately their effectiveness for clinical decision making.