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Evidence-based medicine training during residency: a randomized controlled trial of efficacy

David A Feldstein*, Matthew J Maenner, Rachaya Srisurichan, Mary A Roach and Bennett S Vogelman

Author Affiliations

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, 310 N Midvale Blvd, Room 205, Madison, WI 53705 USA

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:59  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-59

Published: 1 September 2010



Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been widely integrated into residency curricula, although results of randomized controlled trials and long term outcomes of EBM educational interventions are lacking. We sought to determine if an EBM workshop improved internal medicine residents' EBM knowledge and skills and use of secondary evidence resources.


This randomized controlled trial included 48 internal medicine residents at an academic medical center. Twenty-three residents were randomized to attend a 4-hour interactive workshop in their PGY-2 year. All residents completed a 25-item EBM knowledge and skills test and a self-reported survey of literature searching and resource usage in their PGY-1, PGY-2, and PGY-3 years.


There was no difference in mean EBM test scores between the workshop and control groups at PGY-2 or PGY-3. However, mean EBM test scores significantly increased over time for both groups in PGY-2 and PGY-3. Literature searches, and resource usage also increased significantly in both groups after the PGY-1 year.


We were unable to detect a difference in EBM knowledge between residents who did and did not participate in our workshop. Significant improvement over time in EBM scores, however, suggests EBM skills were learned during residency. Future rigorous studies should determine the best methods for improving residents' EBM skills as well as their ability to apply evidence during clinical practice.