Evidence Based Medicine

Demonstrating the ability to critically appraise literature in a systematic fashion is one of my residency learning objectives and so this week of interactive critical appraisal was very welcomed. I still have much hard work towards this in the year ahead but this week provided me with some practice, advice and tools to employ moving forward. Critically appraising a variety of trial designs including RCTs, non-inferiority trials, observational studies, systemic reviews and meta-analyses sequentially provided me with a greater appreciation of the strengths and weakness of each trial. This includes instances where a large, well-designed RCT may provide more useful information that a systematic review or meta-analysis, a statement I may not have felt comfortable defending before this week. These exercises and the discussions surrounding bias, confounders and conflicts of interest are particularly relevant during this first month when residency project planning is in full gear.

During EBM, we also reviewed methods to talk to a patient regarding the evidence of his or her medication therapy. I found this session extremely interesting and it made me think about how to communicate this information to patients in a new light. I have to admit that it felt intimidating listening to the presenter navigate through the best available evidence with ease to an imaginary patient. This feeling was different though, it was mixed with an excitement that this would be one of my roles. With the knowledge that I wanted to strive to sound as confident, clear and concise as the presenter when helping my patients make important healthcare decisions.