Evidence-based medicine, shared decision making and the hidden curriculum: a qualitative content analysis

Dawn Stacey
Douglas Archibald
Emélie Braschi
France Légaré
Roland Grad
Soort article
Original Research
Evidence-based medicine,
Hidden curriculum,
Shared decision making,
Verscheen in

Introduction Medical education should portray evidence-based medicine (EBM) and shared decision making (SDM) as central to patient care. However, misconceptions regarding EBM and SDM are common in clinical practice, and these biases might unintentionally be transmitted to medical trainees through a hidden curriculum. The current study explores how assumptions of EBM and SDM can be hidden in formal curriculum material such as PowerPoint slides.

Methods We conducted a qualitative content analysis using a purposive sample of 18 PowerPoints on the management of upper respiratory tract infections. We identified concepts pertaining to decision making using theory-driven codes taken from the fields of EBM and SDM. We then re-analyzed the coded text using a constructivist latent thematic approach to develop a rich description of conceptualizations of decision making in relation to EBM and SDM frameworks.

Results PowerPoint slides can relay a hidden curriculum, which can normalize: pathophysiological reasoning, unexplained variations in clinical care, the use of EBM mimics, defensive medicine, an unrealistic portrayal of benefits, and paternalism.

Discussion Addressing the hidden curriculum in formal curricular material should be explored as a novel strategy to foster a positive attitude towards EBM and SDM and to improve patient outcomes by encouraging the use of these skills.


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