Links between evidence-based medicine and shared decision-making in courses for doctors in training: a scoping review

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Objectives: This scoping review aims to synthesise the current evidence on the inclusion and effectiveness of integrating evidence-based medicine (EBM) and shared decision-making (SDM) into training courses for doctors in training to enhance patient care. Both EBM and SDM appear to be taught separately and their combined role in providing high-quality patient care has not yet been explored.

Design: Scoping review of literature from January 2017 to June 2021.

Setting: Any setting where doctors in training could undertake EBM and/or SDM courses (hospitals, universities, clinics and online).

Participants: Doctors in training (also known as junior doctors, residents, registrars, trainees, fellows) defined as medical graduates undertaking further training to establish a career pathway.

Methods: Searches were conducted in the databases Medline, Embase, Scopus and Cochrane Library. Bibliographies of included articles and their cited references were hand searched and assessed for inclusion. Included studies described training and outcomes of either EBM, SDM or both. Reported outcomes included EBM knowledge and skill tests, attitude surveys, SDM checklists and surveys and patient and doctor experience data obtained from surveys, focus groups and interviews.

Results: Of the 26 included studies, 15 described EBM training courses, 10 described SDM training courses and 1 course combined both EBM and SDM. Courses were heterogeneous in their content and outcomes, making comparisons difficult. EBM courses prioritised quantitative outcome assessments and linked knowledge and skills, such as critical appraisal, but overlooked other key elements of patient-centred care including SDM.

Conclusions: SDM and EBM are taught separately in most training courses. The inclusion of SDM, evaluated by qualitative assessments, is currently omitted, yet could provide a more person-centred care focus in EBM courses and should be investigated to increase our knowledge of the effectiveness of such courses and their role in improving doctors' skills and patient care.

Protocol: A protocol for this review has been published and contains further details of the methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere057335
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Attitude
  • Decision Making, Shared
  • Evidence-Based Medicine/education
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Physicians


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