Monday, November 2, 2015

New Papers

Kelly MP, Heath I, Howick J, Greenhalgh T. The importance of values in evidence-based medicine. BMC Medical Ethics 2015, 16:69  doi:10.1186/s12910-015-0063-3

Background: Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has always required integration of patient values with ‘best’ clinical evidence. It is widely recognized that scientific practices and discoveries, including those of EBM, are value-laden. But to date, the science of EBM has focused primarily on methods for reducing bias in the evidence, while the role of values in the different aspects of the EBM process has been almost completely ignored.
Discussion: In this paper, we address this gap by demonstrating how a consideration of values can enhance every aspect of EBM, including: prioritizing which tests and treatments to investigate, selecting research designs and methods, assessing effectiveness and efficiency, supporting patient choice and taking account of the limited time and resources available to busy clinicians. Since values are integral to the practice of EBM, it follows that the highest standards of EBM require values to be made explicit, systematically explored, and integrated into decision making.

Summary: Through ‘values based’ approaches, EBM’s connection to the humanitarian principles upon which it was founded will be strengthened.

Pearce W, Raman S, Turner A. Randomised trials in context: practical problems and social aspects of evidence-based medicine and policy. Trials 2015, 16:394  doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0917-5

Randomised trials can provide excellent evidence of treatment benefit in medicine. Over the last 50 years, they have been cemented in the regulatory requirements for the approval of new treatments. Randomised trials make up a large and seemingly high-quality proportion of the medical evidence-base. However, it has also been acknowledged that a distorted evidence-base places a severe limitation on the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM). We describe four important ways in which the evidence from randomised trials is limited or partial: the problem of applying results, the problem of bias in the conduct of randomised trials, the problem of conducting the wrong trials and the problem of conducting the right trials the wrong way. These problems are not intrinsic to the method of randomised trials or the EBM philosophy of evidence; nevertheless, they are genuine problems that undermine the evidence that randomised trials provide for decision-making and therefore undermine EBM in practice. Finally, we discuss the social dimensions of these problems and how they highlight the indispensable role of judgement when generating and using evidence for medicine. This is the paradox of randomised trial evidence: the trials open up expert judgment to scrutiny, but this scrutiny in turn requires further expertise.

Tsakitzidis G, Timmermans O, Callewaert N, Truijen S, Meulmans H, Van Royen P. Participant evaluation of an education module on interprofessional collaboration for students in healthcare studies. BMC Medical Education 2015, 15:188  doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0477-0

Background: Interprofessional collaboration is considered a key-factor to deliver the highest quality of care. Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) assumes a model of working together, in particular with awareness of the process of interprofessional collaboration, to develop an integrated and cohesive answer to the needs of the client/family/population. Educational modules are developed in response to a perceived need to improve interprofessional collaboration for the benefit of patientcare. Up until 2005 no explicit module on interprofessional collaboration existed in the education programs of the Antwerp University Association (AUHA). During a decade the ‘Interprofessional Collaboration In Healthcare (IPCIHC) – module’ is organised and evaluated by its participants.

Methods: One group, post-test design was used to gather data from the participating students using a structured questionnaire. Data was collected between March 2005 and March 2014 from participating final year students in healthcare educational programs.
Results: 3568 (84 % overall response) students evaluated the IPCIHC module from 2005 up to 2014. Over 80 % of the participants were convinced the IPCIHC increased their knowledge and changed their understanding that it will impact their future professional relationships, and felt a greater understanding about problem-solving in healthcare teams. Even though the results indicate that the goals of the IPCIHC module were achieved, less than 60 % of the participants experienced a change in attitude towards other professional groups.

Conclusions: Despite the positive outcomes from the participants, the challenge still remains to keep on educating future healthcare providers in interprofessional collaboration in order to achieve an increase in interprofessional behaviour towards other professional groups. Research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of undergraduate programs on the quality and safety of patientcare in practice.

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