Ambulatory Morning Report: A Case-Based Method of Teaching EBM Through Experiential Learning

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Abstract

Objectives

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) skills are important to daily practice, but residents generally feel unskilled incorporating EBM into practice. The Kolb experiential learning theory, as applied to curricular planning, offers a unique methodology to help learners build an EBM skill set based on clinical experiences. We sought to blend the learner-centered, case-based merits of the morning report with an experientially based EBM curriculum. We describe and evaluate a patient-centered ambulatory morning report combining the User’s Guides to the Medical Literature approach to EBM and experiential learning theory in the internal medicine department at Baystate Medical Center.

Methods

The Kolb experiential learning theory postulates that experience transforms knowledge; within that premise we designed a curriculum to build EBM skills incorporating residents’ patient encounters. By developing structured clinical questions based on recent clinical problems, residents activate prior knowledge. Residents acquire new knowledge through selection and evaluation of an article that addresses the structured clinical questions. Residents then apply and use new knowledge in future patient encounters.

Results

To assess the curriculum, we designed an 18-question EBM test, which addressed applied knowledge and EBM skills based on the User’s Guides approach. Of the 66 residents who could participate in the curriculum, 61 (92%) completed the test. There was a modest improvement in EBM knowledge, primarily during the first year of training.

Conclusions

Our experiential curriculum teaches EBM skills essential to clinical practice. The curriculum differs from traditional EBM curricula in that ours blends experiential learning with an EBM skill set; learners use new knowledge in real time.

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