Carl J. Brown, MD; Marylise Boutros, MD; Andrew Morris, MD; Celia M. Divino, MD; for the Members of the Evidence Based Reviews in Surgery Group*
*The CAGS/ACS Evidence Based Reviews in Surgery Group comprises N.N. Baxter, K.J. Brasel, C.J. Brown, P.K. Chaudhury, C.M. Divino, E. Dixon, G.W.N. Fitzgerald, S.M. Hameed, H.J. Henteleff, T.G. Hughes, L.S. Kao, A.W. Kirkpatrick, S. Latosinsky, T.M. Mastracci, R.S. McLeod, A.M. Morris, T.M. Pawlik, L.K. Temple, and M.E. McKenzie.
The term “evidence-based medicine” was first coined by Sackett and colleagues as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” The key to practising evidence-based medicine is applying the best current knowledge to decisions in individual patients. Medical knowledge is continually and rapidly expanding. For clinicians to practise evidence-based medicine, they must have the skills to read and interpret the medical literature so that they can determine the validity, reliability, credibility and utility of individual articles. These skills are known as critical appraisal skills, and they require some knowledge of biostatistics, clinical epidemiology, decision analysis and economics, and clinical knowledge.
Evidence Based Reviews in Surgery (EBRS) is a program jointly sponsored by the Canadian Association of General Surgeons (CAGS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The primary objective of EBRS is to help practising surgeons improve their critical appraisal skills. During the academic year, 8 clinical articles are chosen for review and discussion. They are selected for their clinical relevance to general surgeons and because they cover a spectrum of issues import ant to surgeons, including causation or risk factors for disease, natural history or prognosis of disease, how to quantify disease, diagnostic tests, early diagnosis and the effectiveness of treatment. A methodological article guides the reader in critical appraisal of the clinical article. Methodological and clinical reviews of the article are performed by experts in the relevant areas and posted on the EBRS website, where they are archived indefinitely. In addition, a listserv allows participants to discuss the monthly article. Surgeons who participate in the monthly packages can obtain Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Maintenance of Certification credits and/or continuing medical education credits for the current article only by reading the monthly articles, participating in the listserv discussion, reading the methodological and clinical reviews and completing the monthly online evaluation and multiple choice questions.
We hope readers will find EBRS useful in improving their critical appraisal skills and in keeping abreast of new developments in general surgery. Four reviews are published in condensed versions in the Canadian Journal of Surgery, 4 are published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and 4 are published in Diseases of the Colon and Rectum. For further information about EBRS, please refer to the CAGS or ACS websites. Questions and comments can be directed to the program administrator, Marg McKenzie, at email@example.com.
Competing interests: None declared.
Correspondence to: M. McKenzie, Administrative Coordinator, EBRS, Mount Sinai Hospital, L3-010, 60 Murray St., PO Box 23
Toronto, ON, M5T 3L9, fax 416 586-5932, firstname.lastname@example.org