Physicians' knowledge, attitudes and professional use of RCTs and meta-analyses: A cross-sectional survey
European Journal of Public Health
Familiarity with Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses is essential to practice Evidence Based Medicine (EBM). The aims of this study were to describe knowledge, attitudes and professional behavior of physicians towards methods to evaluate the efficacy of health interventions, particularly meta-analysis and to find out their possible associated factors. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out on a random sample of Italian physicians through a self-administered
... e. Results: A response rate of 70.1% was achieved (654 questionnaires). Despite satisfactory knowledge and substantial positive attitudes, Italian physicians have not integrated the use of RCTs and meta-analyses into their practice to a large extent, because they infrequently read and use RCTs and meta-analyses to make decisions in clinical practice. There is a high correlation between knowledge, attitudes and professional use of RCTs and meta-analyses. Moreover, the results of our multivariate analysis show that the probability of an appropriate professional use, that is higher for doctors who know the English language, have internet access and dedicate a proper amount of time to continuing medical education, increases significantly with a previous exposure to meta-analysis during graduate/ post-graduate training (OR 2.25" and with the attendance of post-graduate courses about EBM (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.09-2.82). Finally, Italian physicians demonstrate a high level of interest in further training. Conclusions: The association between the EBM educational background of doctors and the appropriate professional use of RCTs and meta-analyses suggest that EBM training may promote a more evidence-based practice among physicians.