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J Clin Epidemiol. 2006 Sep;59(9):1009-14. Epub 2006 Jul 11.

French academic physicians had a poor knowledge of terms used in clinical epidemiology.

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  • 1Centre d'investigations épidémiologiques 4, INSERM, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, 75015 Paris, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess academic physicians' understanding and usage of basic epidemiological terms commonly used in medical journals.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING:

Observational study. A total of 274 physicians, working in a teaching hospital in Paris, France were asked to answer a questionnaire including four vignettes presenting the results of a therapeutic, a diagnostic, a prognostic study and a meta-analysis of clinical trials.

RESULTS:

A total of 130 (47%) questionnaires were returned. We observed the highest proportion of good answers for questions about absolute risk reduction (87.7%), sensitivity (84.6%), and specificity (80%); and the lowest for the calculation and use of the likelihood ratio (16.9% and 9.2%, respectively). The global mean score was 5.0/10 (95% confidence interval=4.6-5.4, range 0-9.4). Physicians got higher scores for questions related to treatment than for questions related to diagnosis: mean scores 7.1 (6.6-7.6) vs. 4.2 (3.8-4.6). Regression analysis did not reveal any significant relationship between global performance and physicians' age (r2=0.002, not significant [NS])

CONCLUSION:

Physicians demonstrated only moderate knowledge and usage of clinical epidemiology terms used in major medical journals. Their capacity to interpret quantitative data from medical scientific literature may be limited.

PMID:
16895826
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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