Welcome to EvidenceWorks Remote

This is the online source of the EvidenceWorks curriculum. The curriculum introduces students to the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM) and the tools used by physicians to analyze the results of clinical trials.

What is Evidence-based Medicine?

An excellent definition of EBM comes from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, " Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients." Although the idea of basing medical decisions on the best knowledge available is not new, the systematic use of an approach to critically evaluate that knowledge in medical education and clinical practice began at McMaster University in Canada in the 1980s. It resulted in a series of articles for physicians. In one of these articles the authors described a clinical case and then illustrate the principles of EBM by contrasting them with the traditional method of answering questions that the case posed. The traditional method relied on the knowledge of a senior physician. The senior physician's knowledge would be based on experience and a thorough understanding of the pathophysiology of the patient's disease which gave it authority. However, it was often anecdotal (based on the few cases of a similar nature the physician had previously seen) and unavoidably biased. Thus, as the field of clinical research advanced through the widespread use of randomized controlled trials, it was recognized that clinical decision-making should be based on the data from this research. It was also recognized that multiple questions may arise when faced with an ill patient, so that the process needed to be efficient. Thus, the EBM method taught physicians how to efficiently gather information and to appropriately analyze it.

What is the EvidenceWorks curriculum?

The curriculum consists of two independent units - Using Evidence-Based Medicine to Answer a Question of Therapy and Using Evidence-Based Medicine to Answer a Question About a Diagnostic Test. The units have been developed by a collaboration of medical experts, experienced curriculum developers, and high school biology teachers. Each unit has been thoroughly field-tested in advanced high school biology classrooms with more than 1800 students. The units make use of videos of an actual medical team filmed in a major teaching hospital as they work through a clinical problem. Students work along with the team using the scaffolded approach used in teaching EBM to medical students called the 5 A's: Ask, Acquire, Appraise, Apply, Assess.

The curriculum units, which take 10-12 hours of classroom time in the paper and pencil format or ebooks for iPad - all of which are free!

Teachers who are interested in teaching the curriculum in their classrooms can take advantage of our Teacher Page to hear from 3 of our teachers and learn about the three options for using the units with their students. Teachers can download a PDF of the original paper & pencil versions or a Teacher's Manual for Blended Instruction. The Teacher's Manual details how our courses and our ebooks for iPad (available from the iTunes Bookstore and the Maine Department of Education's iTunes U site) are ideal for blending classroom assessments of student progress with independent student work.

fastCAT! web app: a unique student-friendly tool for use in appraising the medical literature

Our fastCAT! web app organizes the appraisal of a medical paper and is used by students when they do the final case in each unit "on their own." The app facilitates making a CAT (a Critically Appraised Topic), one of the most important elements of the EBM process. fastCAT is meant to be useful independent of our curriculum and includes YouTube videos that you can explore to learn how to use the tool and to see our approach to teaching EBM.