Evidence-based medicine (EBM) was introduced to provide an organised approach to clinicians and other health care providers in using research to care for their patients. By highlighting the importance of research in patient care, EBM has also provided many researchers a strong sense of purpose, with increased awareness that their everyday activities are being recognised as relevant to patient care. Most medical schools have some form of the EBM training programme at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and many researchers, clinical epidemiologists, and biostatisticians together with clinicians are actively engaged in teaching EBM to students of medicine and other health sciences. However, the flourishing activities of EBM education bring along
CONTEXT: The practice of Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) involves physicians regularly accessing and appraising clinical information. Few prior studies have assessed the information-seeking behaviours of medical undergraduates. At the International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia, senior medical students receive clinically-integrated EBM training to facilitate their future practice of EBM.
OBJECTIVES: We assessed whether EBM training in the final six months of medical training changes our students' information-seeking practices and their confidence in understanding and appraising clinical evidence.
METHODS: Between September 2005 and February 2006, self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 65 senior medical students at the beginning and again at the end of their clerkship training during which there was a clinically-integrated EBM curriculum. The questionnaires covered the topics of their preferred sources of clinical information, online search frequencies, estimated time to retrieve an abstract, and their understanding and confidence in their critical appraisal skills.
FINDINGS: Sixty-four (98%) students completed the initial survey and 63 (97%) completed the follow-up survey. The majority indicated that they preferred to first consult another individual (colleagues, lecturers, hospital staff) for their clinical queries (60.9% in the initial survey and 61.9% in the follow-up survey), with no change in their overall preference following the EBM curriculum six months later (p=0.144). There were significant increases in search activities following the curriculum, for example, students who searched PubMed or Medline for more than three times per week increased from 9.7% to 31.7% (p < 0.001). Students reported that they more often accessed single journals than databases. Despite significant improvements in students' reported understanding of journals and their confidence in critical appraisal (p < 0.001), there was no improvement in reported search speed, with 48.4% in the initial survey and 49.2% in the follow-up survey reporting to take 30 minutes or less to trace an abstract of interest (p=0.979).
CONCLUSIONS: Our EBM training, offered within a supportive curriculum, increased our students' confidence and activity related to EBM, but failed to change students' reported information-seeking behaviours. Other factors influencing medical students' information-seeking practice need to be explored.
BACKGROUND: The prevalence, clinical patterns, and causative drugs of cutaneous adverse drug reactions (cADR) vary among the different populations previously studied.
AIM: To determine the prevalence, the clinical patterns of drug eruptions, and the common drugs implicated, particularly in severe cADR such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) and drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) in our population.
METHODS: We analyzed the database established for all cADR seen by the department of Dermatology from January 2001 till December 2010.
RESULTS: A total of 362 cADR were seen among 42 170 new clinic attendees, yielding an incidence rate of 0.86%. The most common reaction pattern seen was maculopapular eruption (153 cases) followed by SJS/TEN (110 cases) and DRESS (34 cases). Antibiotics was the most commonly implicated drug group (146 cases) followed by anticonvulsants (81 cases) and antigout drugs (50 cases). The most frequently implicated drug was allopurinol (50 cases). Carbamazepine, allopurinol, and cotrimoxazole were the three main causative drugs of SJS/TEN accounting for 21.8%, 20.9%, and 12.7%, respectively, of the 110 cases seen, whereas DRESS was mainly caused by allopurinol (15 cases). Mortality rates for TEN, SJS, and DRESS were 28.6%, 2.2%, and 5.9%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The low rate of cADR with a high proportion of severe reactions observed in this study was probably due to referral bias. Otherwise, the reaction patterns and drugs causing cADR in our population were similar to those seen in other countries. Carbamazepine, allopurinol, and cotrimoxazole were the three main causative drugs of SJS/TEN in our population.
Study site: department of dermatology in Hospital Sultanah Aminah
BACKGROUND: Previous studies report various degrees of agreement between self-perceived competence and objectively measured competence in medical students. There is still a paucity of evidence on how the two correlate in the field of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). We undertook a cross-sectional study to evaluate the self-perceived competence in EBM of senior medical students in Malaysia, and assessed its correlation to their objectively measured competence in EBM.
METHODS: We recruited a group of medical students in their final six months of training between March and August 2006. The students were receiving a clinically-integrated EBM training program within their curriculum. We evaluated the students' self-perceived competence in two EBM domains ("searching for evidence" and "appraising the evidence") by piloting a questionnaire containing 16 relevant items, and objectively assessed their competence in EBM using an adapted version of the Fresno test, a validated tool. We correlated the matching components between our questionnaire and the Fresno test using Pearson's product-moment correlation.
RESULTS: Forty-five out of 72 students in the cohort (62.5%) participated by completing the questionnaire and the adapted Fresno test concurrently. In general, our students perceived themselves as moderately competent in most items of the questionnaire. They rated themselves on average 6.34 out of 10 (63.4%) in "searching" and 44.41 out of 57 (77.9%) in "appraising". They scored on average 26.15 out of 60 (43.6%) in the "searching" domain and 57.02 out of 116 (49.2%) in the "appraising" domain in the Fresno test. The correlations between the students' self-rating and their performance in the Fresno test were poor in both the "searching" domain (r = 0.13, p = 0.4) and the "appraising" domain (r = 0.24, p = 0.1).
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides supporting evidence that at the undergraduate level, self-perceived competence in EBM, as measured using our questionnaire, does not correlate well with objectively assessed EBM competence measured using the adapted Fresno test.
STUDY REGISTRATION: International Medical University, Malaysia, research ID: IMU 110/06.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of a structured, clinically integrated evidence-based undergraduate medicine training programme using a validated tool. DESIGN. Before and after study with no control group.
SETTING: A medical school in Malaysia with an affiliated district clinical training hospital.
PARTICIPANTS: Seventy-two medical students in their final 6 months of training (senior clerkship) encountered between March and August 2006.
INTERVENTION: Our educational intervention included two plenary lectures at the beginning of the clerkship, small-group bedside question-generating sessions, and a journal club in the paediatric posting.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Our primary outcome was evidence-based medicine knowledge, measured using the adapted Fresno test (score range, 0-212) administered before and after the intervention. We evaluated the performance of the whole cohort, as well as the scores of different subgroups that received separate small-group interventions in their paediatric posting. We also measured the correlation between the students' evidence-based medicine test scores and overall academic performances in the senior clerkship.
RESULTS: Fifty-five paired scripts were analysed. Evidence-based medicine knowledge improved significantly post-intervention (means: pre-test, 84 [standard deviation, 24]; post-test, 122 ; P<0.001). Post-test scores were significantly correlated with overall senior clerkship performance (r=0.329, P=0.014). Lower post-test scores were observed in subgroups that received their small-group training earlier as opposed to later in the clerkship.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinically integrated undergraduate evidence-based medicine training produced an educationally important improvement in evidence-based medicine knowledge. Student performance in the adapted Fresno test to some extent reflected their overall academic performance in the senior clerkship. Loss of evidence-based medicine knowledge, which might have occurred soon after small-group training, is a concern that warrants future assessment.
INTRODUCTION: Outcome-based curriculum is adopted at the International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia, where specific learning objectives are laid out progressively under eight major outcomes. We present an outcome-guided, self-reported competency profile of our undergraduate students near the end of their training, focusing on elements that are considered most immediately relevant for their internship.
METHODS: Anonymous surveys were conducted on two cohorts of medical students in their final semester at IMU. The surveys covered a range of competencies, including practical skills, ward routines, generic attributes and evidence-based medicine, grouped under the exit outcomes as defined by the university.
RESULTS: A total of 92 students were assessed. In general, the students were confident of their ability on common practical skills and ward routines. They were comfortable with the level of professionalism and personal attributes required for internship, with the prospect of handling unexpected additional tasks and working away from home perceived as the main difficulties. Most students referred to at least three sources of clinical information to answer their clinical queries. However, they referred more to single journals than databases or collections. The majority could critically appraise journal articles to a variable extent, but nearly half took 30 minutes or longer to trace an abstract of interest.
CONCLUSION: This report demonstrates the strength of outcome-based curriculum in its ability to produce competent students that are well prepared for their internship. Assessing students using this educational approach provides a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses, and identifies stages in their training where additional inputs are required.
A rare syndrome of hypertension, seizures and intracranial bleed has been reported among patients with congenital hemolytic anemia who underwent multiple blood transfusions. We report this syndrome in a 12-year-old Malay girl with hemoglobin E-beta-thalassemia, who underwent intensive transfusion and subsequently had headache, visual loss, severe hypertension and seizures. A comprehensive literature review revealed 30 patients with this syndrome, of whom 15 had intracranial bleed and 12 among these 15 died. A less-intensive transfusion regimen among patients with chronic hemolytic anemia and prompt detection and management of hypertension may prevent this potentially fatal syndrome.
Despite being an essential clinical skill, many junior doctors feel unprepared to perform neonatal resuscitation. We introduced a neonatal resuscitation training workshop in 2009 for our final-year medical students.
CONTEXT: The Fresno test and the Berlin Questionnaire are two validated instruments for objectively assessing competence in evidence-based medicine (EBM). Although both instruments purport to assess a comprehensive range of EBM knowledge, they differ in their formats. We undertook a preliminary study using the adapted version of the two instruments to assess their correlations when administered to medical students. The adaptations were made mainly to simplify the presentation for our undergraduate students while preserving the contents that were assessed.
METHODS: We recruited final-year students from a Malaysian medical school from September 2006 to August 2007. The students received a structured EBM training program within their curriculum. They took the two instruments concurrently, midway through their final six months of training. We determined the correlations using either the Pearson's or Spearman's correlation depending on the data distribution.
RESULTS: Of the 120 students invited, 72 (60.0%) participated in the study. The adapted Fresno test and the Berlin Questionnaire had a Cronbach's alfa of 0.66 and 0.70, respectively. Inter-rater correlation (r) of the adapted Fresno test was 0.9. The students scored 45.4% on average [standard deviation (SD) 10.1] on the Fresno test and 44.7% (SD 14.9) on the Berlin Questionnaire (P = 0.7). The overall correlation between the two instruments was poor (r = 0.2, 95% confidence interval: -0.07 to 0.42, P = 0.08), and correlations remained poor between items assessing the same EBM domains (r = 0.01-0.2, P = 0.07-0.9).
DISCUSSION: The adapted versions of the Fresno test and the Berlin Questionnaire correlated poorly when administered to medical students. The two instruments may not be used interchangeably to assess undergraduate competence in EBM.
BACKGROUND: Independent evaluation of clinical evidence is advocated in evidence-based medicine (EBM). However, authors' conclusions are often appealing for readers who look for quick messages. We assessed how well a group of Malaysian hospital practitioners and medical students derived their own conclusions from systematic reviews (SRs) and to what extent these were influenced by their prior beliefs and the direction of the study results.
METHODS: We conducted two cross-sectional studies: one with hospital practitioners (n = 150) attending an EBM course in June 2008 in a tertiary hospital and one with final-year medical students (n = 35) in November 2008. We showed our participants four Cochrane SR abstracts without the authors' conclusions. For each article, the participants chose a conclusion from among six options comprising different combinations of the direction of effect and the strength of the evidence. We predetermined the single option that best reflected the actual authors' conclusions and labelled this as our best conclusion. We compared the participants' choices with our predetermined best conclusions. Two chosen reviews demonstrated that the intervention was beneficial ("positive"), and two others did not ("negative"). We also asked the participants their prior beliefs about the intervention.
RESULTS: Overall, 60.3% correctly identified the direction of effect, and 30.1% chose the best conclusions, having identified both the direction of effect and the strength of evidence. More students (48.2%) than practitioners (22.2%) chose the best conclusions (P < 0.001). Fewer than one-half (47%) correctly identified the direction of effect against their prior beliefs. "Positive" SRs were more likely than "negative" SRs to change the participants' beliefs about the effect of the intervention (relative risk (RR) 1.8, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.6) and "convert" those who were previously unsure by making them choose the appropriate direction of effect (RR 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.8).
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of our participants could not generate appropriate conclusions from SRs independently. Judicious direction from the authors' conclusions still appears crucial to guiding our health care practitioners in identifying appropriate messages from research. Authors, editors and reviewers should ensure that the conclusions of a paper accurately reflect the results. Similar studies should be conducted in other settings where awareness and application of EBM are different.
Despite a recent increase in activities to promote evidence-based practice (EBP), it was unclear how Malaysian hospital practitioners received this new approach in medicine. This study examines their confidence and perceptions on EBP.
INTRODUCTION: We evaluated the progress in the self-perceived competence of medical students in a range of common clinical, practical and personal skills, in their final six months of training.
METHODS: The study was conducted on 65 final-year medical students undertaking their senior clerkship training at International Medical University, Malaysia. Questionnaire surveys were conducted at the beginning and the end of the six-month period, with 44 items covering clinical, practical, personal skills and readiness to work. Correlations were performed for experience and self-perceived competence, with the respective skills.
RESULTS: 64 students returned the first survey and 63 returned the second survey. When the two survey results were compared, significant increases were found in self-perceived competence for the majority of the skills examined. The items with no significant improvement were divided into those which the students were already proficient in before senior clerkship, and those in which experience and confidence remained poor at the end of training. There were significant, but moderate, correlations between the experience and confidence of all common practical skills (correlation coefficients: 0.348-0.522, p-value is less than 0.001 for all items). At the end of training, students were, in general, more prepared to work as house officers (mean rating in the first survey: 3.05, second survey: 3.97, p-value is less than 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Significant progresses in clinical experience and confidence can be observed in the final stages of medical training. The findings of inadequate improvements in some skills call for dedicated training sessions and strengthening of on-site supervision.
Study site: International Medical University, Batu Pahat Campus, Johor, Malaysia
Emerging epidemiological evidence suggests that patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency may have a higher risk of developing diabetes. The aim of the review was to synthesise the evidence on the association between G6PD deficiency and diabetes. A systematic search on Medline, EMBASE, AMED and CENTRAL databases for studies published between January 1966 and September 2016 that assessed the association between G6PD deficiency and diabetes was conducted. This was supplemented by a review of the reference list of retrieved articles. We extracted data on study characteristics, outcomes and performed an assessment on the methodological quality of the studies. A random-effects model was used to compute the summary risk estimates. Fifteen relevant publications involving 949,260 participants were identified, from which seven studies contributed to the meta-analysis. G6PD deficiency was associated with a higher odd of diabetes (odds ratio 2.37, 95% confidence interval 1.50-3.73). The odds ratio of diabetes among men was higher (2.22, 1.31-3.75) compared to women (1.87, 1.12-3.12). This association was broadly consistent in the sensitivity analysis. Current evidence suggests that G6PD deficiency may be a risk factor for diabetes, with higher odds among men compared to women. Further research is needed to determine how G6PD deficiency moderates diabetes.
OBJECTIVE: Genetic counseling for thalassemia carriers is conducted by nongeneticist health care workers (HCWs) in many countries. The aim of the study was to assess Malaysian HCWs' genetic counseling practices with regards to discussing prenatal diagnosis (PND) and termination of pregnancy (TOP) when counseling thalassemia carriers.
METHOD: A total of 118 Malaysian HCWs (52 doctors and 66 nurses) completed a structured questionnaire that enquired if they would discuss PND and TOP when counseling couples with thalassemia traits, and reasons for their responses were explored.
RESULTS: All the nurses and 50 (96.1%) doctors were in favor of discussing PND. Only 29 (58%) doctors and 33 (50%) nurses were agreeable to discuss about the option of TOP. Main reasons given for declining to discuss TOP were views that "the condition was not serious enough" (54.9%), TOP is not permissible by their religion (17.6%) and abortion for this indication was illegal (13.7%).
CONCLUSION: The results showed that HCWs in Malaysia lacked the comprehensive information and necessary skills required when counseling thalassemia carriers. When nongeneticist HCWs are tasked with such responsibilities, their practices and attitudes should be regularly evaluated so that areas of deficiencies could be identified and addressed.