Real-time EBM: From Bed Board to Keyboard and Back

Stark, Rachel; Helenius, Ira M.; Schimming, Laura M.; Takahara, Nogusa; Kronish, Ian M.; Korenstein, Deborah


To practice Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), physicians must quickly retrieve evidence to inform medical decisions. Internal Medicine (IM) residents receive little formal education in electronic database searching, and have identified poor searching skills as a barrier to practicing EBM.


To design and implement a database searching tutorial for IM residents on inpatient rotations and to evaluate its impact on residents’ skill and comfort searching MEDLINE and filtered EBM resources.


Randomized controlled trial. Residents randomized to the searching tutorial met for up to 6 1-hour small group sessions to search for answers to questions about current hospitalized patients.


Second- and 3rd-year IM residents.


Residents in both groups completed an Objective Structured Searching Evaluation (OSSE), searching for primary evidence to answer 5 clinical questions. OSSE outcomes were the number of successful searches, search times, and techniques utilized. Participants also completed self-assessment surveys measuring frequency and comfort using EBM databases.


During the OSSE, residents who participated in the intervention utilized more searching techniques overall (p < .01) and used PubMed’s Clinical Queries more often (p < .001) than control residents. Searching “success” and time per completed search did not differ between groups. Compared with controls, intervention residents reported greater comfort using MEDLINE (p < .05) and the Cochrane Library (p < .05) on post-intervention surveys. The groups did not differ in comfort using ACP Journal Club, or in self-reported frequency of use of any databases.


An inpatient EBM searching tutorial improved searching techniques of IM residents and resulted in increased comfort with MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library, but did not impact overall searching success.


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Also Published In

Journal of General Internal Medicine

More About This Work

Academic Units
Health Policy and Management
Published Here
November 16, 2016