Background: Competency in evidence-based medicine (EBM) is needed to teach the practice of future physicians. Low competence of staff certainly will cause low competence in the medical students. Self-evaluation represents one way for assessing EBM competence. So far, staff claim to understand the principles of EBM.
Objectives: To evaluate staff competence in EBM using a self-administered questionnaire and compare it with a self-explanation method.
Methods: Fifty staff in the Faculty of Medicine, who were sampled randomly, completed the questionnaire which was distributed in closed envelopes. The questionnaire consists of seven essential principles in EBM, for which they rated their understanding of each of seven terms used in EBM as 'Would not be helpful for me to understand', 'I don't understand, but would like to', 'I already have some understanding', and 'I understand this and could explain to others'. For each question they were also asked to explain briefly in their own word about these principles. Analysis used descriptive analysis which then matched to their explanation for each principle.
Results: In general 50% of the staff understood the principles of EBM and felt they had enough competence. However, when this was compared to the explanation, more than half of the staff did not write further information, and only one-fifth who wrote provided correct interpretations of EBM principles.
Conclusions: Staff competence in EBM is not yet sufficient. Self-evaluation serves more subjective tools which should be interpreted carefully.