Objective To explore the factors, including barriers and facilitators, influencing the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM) across various primary care settings in Malaysia based on the doctors’ views and experiences.
Research design The qualitative study was used to answer the research question. 37 primary care physicians participated in six focus group discussions and six individual in-depth interviews. A semistructured topic guide was used to facilitate both the interviews and focus groups, which were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, checked and analysed using a thematic approach.
Participants 37 primary care doctors including medical officers, family medicine specialists, primary care lecturers and general practitioners with different working experiences and in different settings.
Setting The study was conducted across three primary care settings—an academic primary care practice, private and public health clinics in Klang Valley, Malaysia.
Results The doctors in this study were aware of the importance of EBM but seldom practised it. Three main factors influenced the implementation of EBM in the doctors’ daily practice. First, there was a lack of knowledge and skills in searching for and applying evidence. Second, workplace culture influenced doctors’ practice of EBM. Third, some doctors considered EBM as a threat to good clinical practice. They were concerned that rigid application of evidence compromised personalised patient care and felt that EBM did not consider the importance of clinical experience.
Conclusions Despite being aware of and having a positive attitude towards EBM, doctors in this study seldom practised EBM in their routine clinical practice. Besides commonly cited barriers such as having a heavy workload and lack of training, workplace ‘EBM culture’ had an important influence on the doctors’ behaviour. Strategies targeting barriers at the practice level should be considered when implementing EBM in primary care.
- PRIMARY CARE
- QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
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