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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 1842

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Slawson DC, Shaughnessy AF.
Teaching information mastery: creating informed consumers of medical information.
J Am Board Fam Pract 1999 Nov-Dec; 12:(6):444-9


BACKGROUND: The concepts of evidence-based medicine are permeating all specialties, including family practice. This article describes a curriculum to teach residents the principles and practices of information mastery, a derivation of evidence-based medicine that is more relevant to family physicians. METHODS: The curriculum is a 2-year longitudinal experience consisting mainly of didactic presentations and demonstrations in the first year followed by small-group sessions in the second year. Residents are taught the concepts of the previously described approach of information mastery and the application of these concepts to the variety of information resources available to them. Specifically, residents are taught how to find, evaluate, and apply information available from original research literature, review articles, meta-analyses, translation (controlled-circulation) journals, continuing education lectures, experts and colleagues, pharmaceutical representatives, and clinical experience. RESULTS: Using a before-after design at two institutions, the curriculum improved residents’ attitudes, confidence regarding the medical literature, their perceptions of their ability to evaluate the published literature, and their use of information sources. CONCLUSIONS: Offering a structured curriculum to family practice residents creates dynamic, confident, and independent clinicians skilled in the art of information mastery.

Curriculum Evidence-Based Medicine/education* Family Practice/education* Humans Information Science/education* Internship and Residency* Pennsylvania Program Evaluation Virginia


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909