Background: Health care in most Western European countries is affected by high expenditures and high demands from patients. In a world of overload of medical information, health authorities try to identify the diagnostic methods and treatments that produce the maximum health within the given budget. Based on a vision of Archie Cochrane (Chalmers 2006) about a solid evidence base that could help clinicians to take better clinical decisions and improve health care outcomes, the concept of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) has been developed. In spite of the widespread use of EBM, little research has been undertaken on the doctors opinions and knowledge about the concept EBM. The objective of this thesis is to investigate Norwegian doctors knowledge and attitudes towards EBM. We aimed to test the following hypotheses: doctors working in hospital care are more critical towards EBM than those in primary care; many physicians, both in primary and hospital care, are not familiar with the definition of EBM; many physicians do not believe that EBM improves patients health; most of physicians do not believe that EBM is a main reason of change in clinical practice; many physicians still use traditional information sources.
Methods: We first search Medline for literature on EBM and then analysed data from a survey of 978 Norwegian doctors.
Results: First, in conflict with the hypothesis, physicians working in hospital and primary care were equally positive towards EBM. Second, physicians had limited knowledge about the definition of EBM. Third, the majority of physicians thought that EBM improves patients health. Fourth, physicians believed that medical progress, but not EBM, has changed health care. Fifth, physicians use colleagues and textbooks as sources of medical information, but not the Cochrane database.
Conclusion: Three out of five main hypotheses were confirmed while two were not.