Evaluation of a workshop on evidence-based medicine for social insurance physicians

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BackgroundEvidence-based medicine (EBM), a comprehensive method to support clinical decision making by using evidence, has been instrumental in clinical specialties but not yet in insurance medicine.AimsWe developed and evaluated a workshop on EBM for Dutch social insurance physicians who perform disability evaluations.MethodsSixty-six social insurance physicians followed a 1-day introductory workshop that focused on teaching two EBM core skills: to ask answerable questions and to search for the best evidence. All outcomes were measured before, immediately after and 3 months after the workshop by means of self-assessment. The primary outcomes were knowledge, skills, attitude and intention to apply EBM in practice. The secondary outcomes were social influence, self-efficacy and behaviour.ResultsImmediately after the workshop, a marked and significant improvement was seen in self-assessed skills (mean difference 4.2, 95% CI 3.7–4.6) and in self-efficacy to apply EBM (mean difference 0.7, 95% CI 0.6–0.8). For attitude, knowledge and intention, the improvements were small. Three months after the workshop, the improvements in skills (mean difference 2.3, 95% CI 1.8–2.9) and self-efficacy (mean difference 0.5, 95% CI 0.3–0.6) remained significant.ConclusionsThe workshop improved self-assessed EBM skills and self-efficacy both in the short and long term. The workshop also resulted in limited short-term improvements in self-assessed knowledge and in the intention to apply EBM in practice. The EBM approach can be successfully taught to social insurance physicians working in the field of disability evaluation.

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