Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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Teaching EBM

Using educational prescriptions (EP) to teach medical students evidence-based medicine (EBM).  Umscheid CA et al.  Medical Teacher 2016 [published online]

Reviewed by Michele Haight

What was the study question?

What is the feasibility and impact of evidence-based medicine (EBM) educational prescriptions (EP) on third year clerkships?

How was the study done?

117 medical students completed 402 EPs that consisted of clinical questions that included the following skills: “ask, acquire, appraise, and apply.”  These EPs were evaluated by 24 epidemiology fellows using a rubric. Feasibility was assessed using descriptive statistics and an end-of-rotation questionnaire completed by both students and fellows. EPs measured patient impact and impact on EBM skills was measured in three ways: through the same questionnaire, by assessing the EP scores over time, and through an OSCE with a targeted EBM station (that was compared to controls from the previous year who hadn’t used EPs).

What were the results?

69 students (59%) and 21 fellows (88%) completed questionnaires.  A majority of students thought EPs improved “acquiring” and “appraising” skills. Almost half of the students reported that EPs improved “asking” and “applying” skills. For 18% of EPs, students stated that there was a “change” or “potential change” in patient treatment. 56% “confirmed” patient treatment.  EP scores increased by 1.27 (95% CI: 0.81–1.72). There were no differences in OSCE scores between cohorts.

What is the impact of this study?

This study suggests that EBM EPs are feasible and impactful on skill development during third year clerkships, but do not demonstrate a difference in medical student performance as measured by this schools’ OSCE.

Editor’s note:  The web-based tool used by the authors to teach EBM is  This site may be of assistance to our members (SLB).

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