QMP Medical Statistics Tutorials: Applying evidence clinically
Posted on 8th May 2013 by Abu Abioye
This tutorial  has been designed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Medical Faculty in Australia. It builds on teaching from lectures and previous online tutorials. The tutorial is designed to go over the basics of evidence-based medicine (EBM) and critical appraisal. It goes on to teach you how to adapt these basic skills to individual patient-care. This is done using case studies, with you acting as a general practitioner (GP).
The tutorial has 2 parts: the first part deals with the basics of EBM, types of clinical questions, evidence, applying EBM, searching for evidence, critical evaluation, and Bayes’ Theorem; and the second part is an extended case-study.
The tutorial is clearly aimed at UNSW medical students. The tutorial presumes that you are familiar with EBM and the various methods it requires. It has been designed to move you on from knowing the principles of EBM to using EBM in clinical practice.
This tutorial will take 2-3 hours to go through depending on your familiarity with EBM.
At first glance this tutorial is not the most engaging, it presumes that you are competent at EBM yet is overly simplistic in parts, and it has link after link that you are required to follow in order to gather the basic knowledge needed to understand what is going on. For most medical students, I would say that you can quickly skip past the first few pages of the tutorial but the difficulty quickly escalates to the point where you might have to find other websites that explain unfamiliar terms and concepts.
I have started by laying out the negative points because they are the most obvious. BUT – and this is a big but – once you settle down and take the time to get your head around the unfamiliar concepts, it soon becomes clear that this tutorial is rather useful. I learnt about EBM through lectures and seminars where there are lots of opportunities to go through case studies and ask questions. This cannot be replicated by a website, however this tutorial makes a decent attempt. When I searched online for other tutorials, I could not find an alternative that was easier to follow or one that was so patient-oriented.
The tutorial follows a logical format and has lots of practical examples, which is a great way of seeing if you can apply your knowledge to a case. I really liked how it would ask questions and give you a chance to think about it, and you can reveal the answer in your own time. The cases are interesting and really show how important EBM is in clinical practice; this is the first time I have really been shown how useful EBM can be in each and every patient consultation. My favourite part of the tutorial is the critical appraisal worksheet, which is easy to use and makes critical appraisal seem really easy.
Overall, the second part of the tutorial is the most interesting and most useful part but in reality, in order to make the most of this tutorial, it would be advisable to go to the QMP medical statistics tutorials homepage and start from the beginning. If you want to practise using EBM for clinical practice then I would say that this tutorial is definitely worth having a look at; this may suit you, it may not.
 Rachel Thompson, Mike Bennett, Ed Loughman. QMP Medical Statistics Tutorial: Applying the evidence clinically [Internet]. University of New South Wales, Faculty of Medicine; 2008 [updated 15 March 2013; cited 8 May 2013]. Available from: http://web.med.unsw.edu.au/QMP/BGD3%20Tutorial/BGD3_Intro.html
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