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      Effectiveness of training in evidence-based medicine skills for healthcare professionals: a systematic review

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          Basic skills in evidence-based medicine (EbM) are indispensable for healthcare professionals to promote consumer-centred, evidence-based treatment. EbM training courses are complex interventions – a fact that has not been methodologically reflected by previous systematic reviews.

          This review evaluates the effects of EbM training for healthcare professionals as well as the quality of reporting of such training interventions.


          We searched PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, ERIC, Campbell Library and PsycINFO up to 9/2014. Randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials as well as before-after trials were included. Authors were contacted in order to obtain missing data. Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed risk of bias.


          We reviewed 14.507 articles; n = 61 appeared potentially eligible; n = 13 involving 1,120 participants were included. EbM training shows some impact on knowledge and skills, whereas the impact on practical EbM application remains unclear. Risk of bias of included trials raises uncertainty about the effects. Description of complex interventions was poor.


          EbM training has some positive effects on knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals. Appropriate methods for development, piloting, evaluation, reporting and implementation of the training should be applied.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-016-0616-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 74

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          Criteria for Reporting the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions in healthcare: revised guideline (CReDECI 2)

          Background Many healthcare interventions are of complex nature, consisting of several interacting components. Complex interventions are often described inadequately. A reporting guideline for complex interventions was published in 2012 (Criteria for Reporting the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions in healthcare, CReDECI) and was recently checked for its practicability. The reporting guideline was developed following the recommendations of the EQUATOR network but excluding a formal consensus process. Therefore, a consensus process was initiated, to revise the reporting guideline. Methods We used a three-phase consensus process consisting of (1) a web-based feedback survey on the published reporting guideline, (2) a face-to-face consensus conference, and (3) a final online review and feedback round to create the revised CReDECI. The consensus process was organized and conducted via the REFLECTION network. Results A total of 45 attendees from 16 European countries took part in the face-to-face consensus conference. The revised reporting guideline (CReDECI 2) comprises 13 items on three stages: development, feasibility and piloting, and evaluation of a complex intervention. Each item is illustrated by an explanation and an example. In contrast with most of the available reporting guidelines, CReDECI 2 does not focus on a specific study design, to reflect the use of different qualitative and quantitative designs and methods in the development and evaluation of complex interventions. Conclusions CReDECI 2 is a formally consented reporting guideline aiming to improve the reporting quality of the development and evaluation stages of complex interventions in healthcare. Since the guideline does not focus on a specific study design, design-specific reporting guidelines may additionally be used. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0709-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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            Barriers to evidence-based medicine: a systematic review.

            Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has emerged as an effective strategy to improve health care quality. The aim of this study was to systematically review and carry out an analysis on the barriers to EBM.
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              Providing education on evidence-based practice improved knowledge but did not change behaviour: a before and after study

              Background Many health professionals lack the skills to find and appraise published research. This lack of skills and associated knowledge needs to be addressed, and practice habits need to change, for evidence-based practice to occur. The aim of this before and after study was to evaluate the effect of a multifaceted intervention on the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour of allied health professionals. Methods 114 self-selected occupational therapists were recruited. The intervention included a 2-day workshop combined with outreach support for eight months. Support involved email and telephone contact and a workplace visit. Measures were collected at baseline, post-workshop, and eight months later. The primary outcome was knowledge, measured using the Adapted Fresno Test of Evidence-Based Practice (total score 0 to 156). Secondary outcomes were attitude to evidence-based practice (% reporting improved skills and confidence; % reporting barriers), and behaviour measured using an activity diary (% engaging/not engaging in search and appraisal activities), and assignment completion. Results Post-workshop, there were significant gains in knowledge which were maintained at follow-up. The mean difference in the Adapted Fresno Test total score was 20.6 points (95% CI, 15.6 to 25.5). The change from post-workshop to follow-up was small and non-significant (mean difference 1.2 points, 95% CI, -6.0 to 8.5). Fewer participants reported lack of searching and appraisal skills as barriers to evidence-based practice over time (searching = 61%, 53%, 24%; appraisal 60%, 65%, 41%). These differences were statistically significant (p = 0.0001 and 0.010 respectively). Behaviour changed little. Pre-workshop, 6% engaged in critical appraisal increasing to 18% post-workshop and 18% at follow-up. Nearly two thirds (60%) were not reading any research literature at follow-up. Twenty-three participants (20.2%) completed their assignment. Conclusion Evidence-based practice skills and knowledge improved markedly with a targetted education intervention and outreach support. However, changes in behaviour were small, based on the frequency of searching and appraisal activities. Allied health educators should focus more on post-workshop skill development, particularly appraisal, and help learners to establish new routines and priorities around evidence-based practice. Learners also need to know that behaviour change of this nature may take months, even years.

                Author and article information

                +49 04361/513-130 ,
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Medical Education
                BioMed Central (London )
                4 April 2016
                4 April 2016
                : 16
                [ ]University of Witten/Herdecke, Faculty of Health, School of Nursing Science, Witten/Herdeke, Germany
                [ ]RED Institute for Medical Research and Education, Mühlenkamp 5, 23758 Oldenburg, Germany
                [ ]University of Hamburg, Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences, Unit of Health Sciences and Education, Hamburg, Germany
                [ ]Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Medical Faculty, Institute for Health and Nursing Science, Halle, Germany
                © Hecht et al. 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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