For evidence-based practice to embed culturally in the workplace, teaching of evidence-based medicine (EBM) should be clinically integrated. In low-middle–income countries (LMICs) there is a scarcity of EBM-trained clinical tutors, lack of protected time for teaching EBM, and poor access to relevant databases in languages other than English.
To evaluate the effects of a clinically integrated e-learning EBM course incorporating the World Health Organization (WHO) Reproductive Health Library (RHL) on knowledge, skills, and educational environment compared with traditional EBM teaching.
Design, Setting, and Participants
International cluster randomized trial conducted between April 2009 and November 2010 among postgraduate trainees in obstetrics-gynecology in 7 LMICs (Argentina, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand). Each training unit was randomized to an experimental clinically integrated course consisting of e-modules using the RHL for learning activities and trainee assessments (31 clusters, 123 participants) or to a control self-directed EBM course incorporating the RHL (29 clusters, 81 participants). A facilitator with EBM teaching experience was available at all teaching units. Courses were administered for 8 weeks, with assessments at baseline and 4 weeks after course completion. The study was completed in 24 experimental clusters (98 participants) and 22 control clusters (68 participants).
Main Outcome Measures
Primary outcomes were change in EBM knowledge (score range, 0-62) and skills (score range, 0-14). Secondary outcome was educational environment (5-point Likert scale anchored between 1 [strongly agree] and 5 [strongly disagree]).
At baseline, the study groups were similar in age, year of training, and EBM-related attitudes and knowledge. After the trial, the experimental group had higher mean scores in knowledge (38.1 [95% CI, 36.7 to 39.4] in the control group vs 43.1 [95% CI, 42.0 to 44.1] in the experimental group; adjusted difference, 4.9 [95% CI, 2.9 to 6.8]; P < .001) and skills (8.3 [95% CI, 7.9 to 8.7] vs 9.1 [95% CI, 8.7 to 9.4]; adjusted difference, 0.7 [95% CI, 0.1 to 1.3]; P = .02). Although there was no difference in improvement for the overall score for educational environment (6.0 [95% CI, −0.1 to 12.0] vs 13.6 [95% CI, 8.0 to 19.2]; adjusted difference, 9.6 [95% CI, −6.8 to 26.1]; P = .25), there was an associated mean improvement in the domains of general relationships and support (−0.5 [95% CI, −1.5 to 0.4] vs 0.3 [95% CI, −0.6 to 1.1]; adjusted difference, 2.3 [95% CI, 0.2 to 4.3]; P = .03) and EBM application opportunities (0.5 [95% CI, −0.7 to 1.8] vs 2.9 [95%, CI, 1.8 to 4.1]; adjusted difference, 3.3 [95% CI, 0.1 to 6.5]; P = .04).
In a group of LMICs, a clinically integrated e-learning EBM curriculum in reproductive health compared with a self-directed EBM course resulted in higher knowledge and skill scores and improved educational environment.
anzctr.org.au Identifier: ACTRN12609000198224