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Accreditation drives teaching: evidence-based medicine and medical education standards
  1. Ahmed Rashid1,
  2. Samuel Finnikin2,
  3. Sean Tackett3
  1. 1 UCL Medical School, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ahmed Rashid, University College London Medical School, London NW3 2PF, UK; ahmed.rashid{at}

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As evidence-based medicine (EBM) emerged as the cornerstone of clinical medicine in recent decades, it became clear that an associated change in medical education was required to ensure adequate coverage of the new skills that doctors would need. In response, medical educators sought to incorporate relevant EBM teaching into medical curricula at all stages. This led to the development of EBM education into a subfield,1 straddling the vast fields of EBM and medical education. In recent years, there have been a variety of critiques of, and challenges to, EBM. For example, the dearth of tools that measure the impacts of EBM education on clinical practice and health outcomes suggest that there is much work to be done for those working in this area. Here we describe how assessment and accreditation may be used to advance EBM education.

An old adage in education is that ‘assessment drives learning2’. The content and format of an assessment tell learners what topics are important (or unimportant) and the nature of the learning that will help them become ‘exam ready’. For example, including a large proportion of questions on atrial fibrillation in a cardiology exam implies that this condition is important within the discipline. Likewise, using a simulated clinical encounter for course credit indicates to students that their study should be oriented to clinical skills practice rather than reading textbooks in a library.

Given the importance of assessment in …

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  • Contributors AR conceived the article and wrote the first draft. SF and ST critically edited the manuscript for important intellectual content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.