How far did we get? How far to go?A European survey on postgraduate courses in evidence-based medicine

R Kunz, E Nagy, SFPJ Coppus, JI Emparanza, Julie Hadley, Regina Kulier, S Weinbrenner, A Burls, JB Cabello, T Decsi, AR Horvath, J Walzak, MP Kaczor, GZ Eng, K Pierer, R Schaffler, K Suter, BWJ Mol, Khalid Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background Over the past decade, evidence-based medicine (EBM) has gained recognition as a means to improve the quality of health care provision. However, little is known about learning opportunities to acquire EBM-associated skills. The EUebm-Unity partnership explored current educational activities for EBM practice for doctors across Europe. Methods We surveyed organizations offering postgraduate EBM courses across Europe inquiring about their course programme, teaching content and strategies, and interest in a Europe-wide curriculum in EBM. Results One hundred and fifty-six organizers in eight European countries reported 403 courses that had started first-time from 1996 to 2006. Despite a steady increase, in absolute terms, the frequency of courses was low and varied from 1 first-time offering of a course per 640 doctors (Spain) to 1 first-time offering per 5600 doctors (Austria) over 10 years. Most adopted the McMaster EBM teaching concept of small group, problem-based learning focussing on interventions, diagnostic tests and guidelines, and included efforts to link EBM to patient care. Teaching staff consisted of doctors from academic and non-academic settings, supported by methodologists. Efforts to formally integrate EBM in postgraduate activities were only partially successful. Most organizations welcomed a standardized European qualification in EBM. A limitation of the survey is the lack of follow-up information about the continuation of courses following the first-time offering. Conclusions All countries offer some EBM courses with varying teaching intensity. Learning opportunities are insufficient to ensure widespread dissemination of knowledge and skills. Most countries welcome more efforts to develop inexpensive and feasible educational activities at a postgraduate level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1196-1204
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • evidence-based medicine
  • quality assurance
  • continuing medical education
  • graduate medical education
  • curriculum
  • problem-based learning


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