Physician numeracy: Essential skills for practicing evidence-based medicine

Department of Pediatrics, UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine Residency Program and Center for EBM Education, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Family medicine (Impact Factor: 1.17). 06/2008; 40(5):354-8.
Source: PubMed


Teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM) has become common in family medicine residency programs. EBM teaching usually takes the form of journal clubs or encouraging residents to use EBM summaries of original articles. Both have significant limitations. Residents and other physicians recognize that understanding statistics is important for interpreting results. Unfortunately, they report low self confidence in this area reflected by studies that show poor skills. Physician numeracy refers to a broad range of mathematical skills needed for practicing medicine, including the statistical knowledge necessary to interpret original research papers. Numeracy should be given much more emphasis in residency curricula and can form the foundation of EBM teaching. Objectives for a numeracy curriculum based on a recent research article and a curriculum using an EBM framework are described.

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