A network for students interested in evidence-based health care

Why I blog for Students 4 Best Evidence (and why you should too!)

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Ammar Sabouni

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My interest in Evidence-Based Medicine/Healthcare/Practice

I have had a love for Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), or Healthcare, or Practice – or whatever name is politically correct nowadays – since my second year of medicine, when I came to understand the importance of research.

It was through learning about research and its importance that I was introduced to EBM. Now, the idea that all practice needs to be built on evidence, and the concepts of finding, validating and applying that evidence, have shaped a lot of how I look at everything. From medicine to almost all of science. Critical appraisal, evidence, and shared decision making (yes, I am pushing shared decision making into EBM. I have written a blog for this, read here) have all become key concepts for me and things I hold quite dearly.

This is where Students 4 Best Evidence comes in…

What Students 4 Best Evidence has done for me:

1) Joining S4BE gets you Trip Premium free of charge

S4BE have partnered up with Trip and have an amazing set of incentives for everyone who joins this community.

Trip is actually really cool. It’s basically a (really) beefed-up Pubmed(-ish) medical search engine.

  • Your results get ordered automatically so that the highest quality papers are at the top – saves a hell of a lot of sifting if you know what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, you should get reading about and searching the literature and thinking about critical appraisal.
  • You can filter based on study quality too.
  • The interface is super sexy modern, colour coded, and can be easily filtered.
  • You use PICO (Patient/Problem/Population, Intervention, Comparison/Control/Comparator, Outcomes) to ask your questions and have Trip send you email updates about the latest papers in your field of interest (see here, if you’re not familiar with PICO).
  • Trip claims to answer 70% of our clinical questions. I won’t say I have personally validated such a percentage to my clinical questions but I can say that you’ll get more answers than blanks, which is quite an achievement if I compare it to what I get on PubMed/Google Scholar etc.
  • People creating evidence-based products – systematic reviews, people writing guidelines etc. – actually use Trip. There are a vast number of full text articles from PubMed Central, ongoing clinical trials, and hundreds of thousands of systematic reviews.
  • Trip Premium comes with discounts for the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (Oxford), DynaMed and Trip Evidence Services.

2) Get involved in keeping Wikipedia up-to-date

Some S4BE Contributors are also active in keeping Wikipedia updated with the latest evidence. I’ve basically learnt about editing Wikipedia articles from my work with S4BE and now I’ve done quite a few edits on articles from WikiProject Medicine.

4) CARL and similar projects

The Critical Appraisal Resource Library is another example of the things you can get into through being involved with S4BE. This is a project set up by Sir Iain Chalmers, with the help of some of the biggest names (and minds) in the EBM world, to collect and appraise available resources for EBM, and make them more accessible to the masses. This is one of the projects that we are up to at S4BE. Think this is interesting? Join up and get in touch to play a part.

So those are a few reasons to become an S4BE Contributor, some of the reasons closer to home follow.

4) Being part of a community

S4BE has helped me find a social circle, a movement to be a part of. A place I come to find other similar minded people, share my thoughts, and get motivated to keep up to date and learn new and important things. S4BE has also proved invaluable in getting in touch with the pioneers of the EBM worldwide, meeting the people who lead this world and learning from them.

Holly who is now leaving to join the Cochrane Executive Team has been one of the driving forces behind the project alongside Martin at Cochrane UK (one of S4BE’s supporter organisations) who launched the idea of S4BE. There’s also my lovely compatriot Norah who was also the kind of Godmother of S4BE. We are now lucky enough to have Selena from Cochrane UK who is taking over the administration of S4BE. Getting to know these amazing people has been a great part of working with S4BE.

Finally, Students 4 Best Evidence is built for students by students, and if you get into this young it’ll stick. I always feel I carry EBM like a contagious disease, mode of transmission: a few words. Honestly, I have yet to preach EBM to anyone and have them not become believers.

I think everyone can get involved, understand it, absorb it, and go on to implement it as best their resources allow.

If you’d like to blog for Students 4 Best Evidence, register here.

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Ammar Sabouni

Ammar Sabouni

Hi! I'm Ammar! Originally from Syria, I'm quite interested in EBM, and I dabble a little in research; a very vague statement I know, well final year at medical school and still trying to figure out what it is I really like about all this. Add me and msg me, lets chat facebook.com/amm.sab twitter @amosabo View more posts from Ammar

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