Practice of EBHC – what to expect

When I ask students whether our Practice of Evidence-Based Health Care module met their expectations, some have said, “I didn’t really know what to expect”…. so, I thought I would give a brief overview of what to expect when you attend this module.

The module is designed to provide an overview of the central aspects of Evidence-Based Health Care. Starting at the beginning, involves learning how to ask a focused, clinical question and, exactly what the different types of study designs are actually about.  The next step is learning how to search the literature speedily and effectively (what can you find in 2 minutes).  This is in an interactive session, with an experienced information specialist and, if you think you know how to do this, you may be surprised – it’s not all about PubMed).

Critical appraisal of the studies that you find is one of the cornerstones of EBHC and we teach ‘the how to’ appraise the different study types: covering RCTs, systematic reviews and diagnostic and prognostic studies. And of course, it’s important to understand basic statistics, which we cover. In addition, time in the course is devoted to thinking through ethical issues, the importance of qualitative studies and how to approach implementing change in practice.

It’s not just about critical appraisal and definitions and numbers; after all, as Dave Sackett said, Evidence-Based Medicine is about integrating the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values

It’s a busy week, however, as part of our philosophy you will definitely not just sit and listen to talks all day: all the sessions are interactive and we utilise group work sessions, where you work in a small group with a tutor to practice and unpick what you have learnt. You will also get to work together, as part of a group, answering a relevant clinical question that incorporates all you have learnt, which is presented to the rest of the group at the end of the week.

What I like most about this module, as a tutor, is meeting all the students, who come from all over the world and have a variety of backgrounds. I have met people from different clinical specialities, and also researchers, nurses, philosophers, vets, policy makers….the list goes on. Everyone brings their expertise and perspectives to the group, which always makes for interesting discussions.

It’s a busy week, but also a fun week, and by the end of the module you will have acquired lots of tools to help you think about and implement EBHC in your setting

Annette Pluddemann

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