, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 632-639

Evidence-based medicine knowledge, attitudes, and skills of community faculty

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CONTEXT: As medical schools turn to community physicians for ambulatory care teaching, assessing the preparation of these faculty in principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM) becomes important.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the knowledge and attitudes of community faculty concerning EBM and their use of EBM in patient care and teaching.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey conducted from January to March of 2000.

SETTING: A clinical campus of a state medical school; a midwestern city of a half-million people with demographics close to national means.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Comparisons of community faculty with full-time faculty in perceived importance and understanding of EBM (5-point scale), knowledge of EBM, and use of EBM in patient care and teaching.

MAIN RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 63% (177) of eligible community faculty and 71% (22) of full-time faculty. Community faculty considered EBM skills to be less important for daily practice than did full-time faculty (3.1 vs 4.0; P<.01). Primary care community faculty were less confident of their EBM knowledge than were subspecialty community or full-time faculty (2.9 vs 3.3 vs 3.6; P<.01). Objective measures of EBM knowledge showed primary care and subspecialty community faculty about equal and significantly below full-time faculty (P<.01). Thirty-three percent of community faculty versus 5% of full-time faculty do not incorporate EBM principles into their teaching (P<.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Community faculty are not as equipped or motivated to incorporate EBM into their clinical teaching as are full-time faculty. Faculty development programs for community faculty should feature how to use and teach basic EBM concepts.