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A web-based library consult service for evidence-based medicine: Technical development

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6947-6-16

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To improve support for evidence-based practice, we have developed a web-based EBM library consult service application (LCS). Librarians use the LCS system to provide full text evidence-based literature with critical appraisal in response to a clinical question asked by a remote physician. LCS uses an entirely Free/Open Source Software platform and will be released under a Free Software license. In the first year of the LCS project, the software was successfully developed and a reference implementation put into active use. Two years of evaluation of the clinical, educational, and attitudinal impact on physician-users and librarian staff are underway, and expected to lead to refinement and wide dissemination of the system.A web-based EBM library consult model may provide a useful way for informationists to assist clinicians, and is feasible to implement.Despite the growing availability of evidence-based medicine (EBM) training programs for practicing physicians and increasing emphasis on EBM in medical student and resident education, research indicates that even those clinicians who are most enthusiastic about EBM generally rely more on traditional information sources, such as consultation with respected colleagues, than on EBM-related sources [1]. In reviewing the teaching of EBM as an educational endeavor, several reviews have concluded that evidence-based practice may be difficult for physicians [2-6].EBM requires that clinicians learn new skills, including how to formulate questions about their patients that can be answered in the medical literature, how to search the clinical research literature for potentially relevant research reports, how to critically appraise the research design and analysis methods in order to determine the validity of reported results and their applicability to their patients, and how to use valid results appropriately in making clinical decisions. Such skills, the foundations of which lie in biostatistics, epidemiology, and library and in


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