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Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes. 2013;107(1):44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.zefq.2012.11.013. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

Competence training in evidence-based medicine for patients, patient counsellors, consumer representatives and health care professionals in Austria: a feasibility study.

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  • 1University of Hamburg, Unit of Health Sciences and Education, Germany.



Informed and shared decision-making require competences for both partners - healthcare professionals and patients. There is a lack of training courses in evidence-based medicine for patients and counsellors.


We investigated feasibility, acceptability and the potential effects of a 2 x 2.5 days training course on critical health competences in patients, patient counsellors, consumer representatives and healthcare professionals in Austria.


We adapted a previously developed curriculum for patient and consumer representatives. The adaptation comprised the specific needs of our target group in Austria and was founded on Carl Rogers' theory of person-centred education. For the formative evaluation a questionnaire was applied to address the domains: 1) organisational conditions (time and duration of the course, location, and information given in advance, registration); 2) assistance outside the courses; 3) teaching methods (performance of lecturers, teaching materials, structure of modules and blocks) and 4) satisfaction; 5) subjective assessment of competences. Participants evaluated the course, using a 5-point Likert scale. Long-term implementation was assessed using semi-structured interviews three to six months after the course. To estimate the increase in critical health competences we used the validated Critical Health Competence Test (CHC test).


Eleven training courses were conducted including 142 participants: patients (n=21); self-help group representatives (n=17); professional counsellors (n=29); healthcare professionals (n=10); psychologists (n=8); teachers (n=10) and others (n=29). 97 out of 142 (68 %) participants returned the questionnaire. On average, participants strongly agreed or agreed to 1) organisational conditions: 71 % / 23 %; 2) assistance outside the courses: 96 % / 10 %; 3) teaching methods: 60 % / 28 %; and 4) satisfaction: 78 % / 20 %, respectively. Interviews showed that the training course raised awareness, activated and empowered participants. Participants passed the CHC test with mean person parameters of 463±111 (pre-test, n=120) and 547±135 (post-test, n=91). For participants who returned both tests (n=71) person parameters were comparable: pre-test 466±121 versus post-test 574±100, p<0,001.


Training in evidence-based medicine for patients, patient counsellors, consumer representatives and healthcare professionals is feasible. For a broad implementation, train-the trainer courses and further research are needed.

Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier GmbH.

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