An Evidence Based Clinical Decision Making Course Was Successfully Integrated Into A Medical School's Preclinical Systems-based Curriculum

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Few medical curricula provide education in clinical decision making (CDM) using clinical care research in the mainstream of preclinical, undergraduate education. We describe a course called Principles of Evidence-based Clinical Decision Making (the course). The course is an intensive three-week experience with the goals of teaching preclinical students how to (1) ask clinical questions, (2) acquire, appraise, and summarize the results of clinical care research and (3) apply this research to patient care decisions. The course utilizes multiple media resources, multiple teaching modalities, and psychometrically sound assessment instruments. Student achievement on the individual tests, team assignments and independent projects ranged from satisfactory to excellent. Student evaluations and faculty observations identified important structural and instructional changes for the next iteration of the course. Post-hoc analyses suggest that knowledge decay can occur within five months if EBM/CDM knowledge is not reinforced in formal curricular activities. Our course helps students learn foundational knowledge and skills in EBM and CDM and supports the development of prerequisite knowledge for later components of the medical school curriculum. Knowledge decay appears to be at risk if not reinforced within a few months after mastery.

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