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Evidence-informed healthcare (EIHC) is a systematic approach to clinical problem solving that facilitates the integration of the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and our patient’s unique values and circumstances.1 To become an EIHC practitioner requires knowledge, skills and practice. The five-step model of EIHC (asking answerable clinical questions, acquiring the evidence, appraising the evidence, applying the evidence and assessing performance as an EIHC practitioner) forms the basis for both teaching EIHC and clinical practice.2
Despite many EIHC success stories, variation in the adoption of evidence-based practice remains a problem.3 Barriers to implementing EIHC are well documented, with lack of resources being the most common barrier,4 followed by lack of knowledge and skills about appraisal, negative perceptions about research, lack of resources and time, low self-efficacy, inadequate access to the literature and financial barriers.4 5 Some of these barriers are directly related to the steps of EIHC, indicating that there is a clear need to improve the teaching of EIHC across all professions.
Interventions using multiple methods are most likely to improve knowledge and skills compared with single interventions or no interventions,6 with the most effective teaching strategies being those that are interactive and clinically integrated.7 Online learning with high levels of interactivity is increasingly used as a learning intervention8 and is as effective a strategy as lecture-based teaching.9 Online learning has the added advantage of providing learner-centred access to course materials at a time and place convenient to them and to tailor their learning to their own timing, pace and needs.8
Virtual patient cases are designed to represent real-life clinical scenarios and are well suited for facilitating the development of clinical reasoning skills,10 an essential element of EIHC. Cases designed using a problem-oriented training approach increase the …
Contributors All authors have contributed to all stages, from the design and implementation of the project to the writing of the manuscript.
Funding This study was funded by Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, University of British Columbia.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.