Awareness, attitudes, and knowledge of Palestinian doctors about evidence-based medicine: a cross-sectional survey Loai Albarqouni, Khamis Elessi
Abstract Published Online August 1, 2017 Center for Research in Evidence-based Practice CREBP, Bond University, Gold Coast Australia (L Albarqouni MD); Evidence-based Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza, occupied Palestinian territory (K Elessi MD) Correspondence to: Dr Loai Barqouni, Center for Research in Evidence-based Practice CREBP, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4226, Australia [email protected]
Background Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an effective strategy to integrate evidence into decision-making alongside patients’ values and clinical expertise. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the awareness, knowledge, and attitudes of Palestinian physicians about EBM. Methods This was a cross-sectional study, in which data were collected between August and November, 2014, using a web-based, 20-item questionnaire adapted from McColl and colleagues to assess awareness of, attitudes to, and knowledge about EBM. We used email and social media to survey Palestinian doctors working in health centres affiliated with the Ministry of Health, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), academic, and private sectors. Findings Of 135 physicians who completed the questionnaire, the majority were men (116; 86%), younger than 30 years old (104; 77%), resident or general physicians (117; 87%), who worked in a government health-care setting or UNRWA (104; 79%). Most of the respondents (99; 73%) welcomed the concept of EBM, agreed that EBM is useful in their daily practice (104; 77%) and can improve patient care (109; 81%), and claimed that more than half of their daily clinical practice is evidence-based (84; 62%). However, two-thirds of respondents (90; 67%) thought that practicing EBM would place demands on already overloaded doctors. Only 27% (36) had received formal training in EBM, which was received through the EBM Unit in Gaza for 64% (23) of these physicians. The major perceived barriers to practicing EBM were insufficient knowledge and skills (47; 35%), lack of managerial and institutional support (24; 18%), limited resources and free access to databases or libraries (31; 23%), work overload (27; 20%), and negative attitude to EBM among some colleagues, especially the most senior (34; 25%). Interpretation Despite the positive attitude towards learning and implementing EBM among (mainly young) Palestinian physicians, these doctors feel that they have inadequate knowledge and skills in practicing EBM. They need effective practical educational training programmes in EBM, clinical appraisal, and literature searching skills. Importantly, the attitudes of policymakers and senior staff need to change to promote the practice of EBM within the health services. Funding None. Contributors LA and KE designed the study and collected the data. LA analysed the results. Declaration of interests We declare no competing interests.