Teaching evidence based medicine in family medicine

Davorka Vrdoljak


The concept of evidence based medicine (EBM) as the integrationof clinical expertise, patient values and the best evidence was introducedby David Sackett in the 1980’s. Scientific literature in medicineis often marked by expansion, acummulation and quick expiration.Reading all important articles to keep in touch with relevant informationis impossible. Finding the best evidence that answers a clinicalquestion in general practice (GP) in a short time is not easy. Fiveuseful steps are described –represented by the acronym “5A+E”: assess,ask, acquire, appraise, apply and evaluate.The habit of conductingan evidence search “on the spot’’ is proposed. Although students ofmedicine at University of Split School of Medicine are taught EBMfrom the first day of their study and in all courses, their experience ofevidence-searching and critical appraisal of the evidence, in real timewith real patient is inadequate. Teaching the final-year students thepractical use of EBM in a GP’s office is different and can have an importantrole in their professional development. It can positively impacton quality of their future work in family practice (or some other medicalspecialty) by acquiring this habit of constant evidence-checking toensure that best practice becomes a mechanism for life-long learning.Conclusion. EBM is a foundation stone of every branch of medicineand important part of Family Medicine as scientific and professionaldiscipline. To have an EB answer resulting from GP’s everyday work isbecoming a part of everyday practice


Evidence based medicine; Critical appraisal; Family medicine

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