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Educational interventions in neurology: a comprehensive systematic review

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Abstract

A fear of neurology and neural sciences (neurophobia) may have clinical consequences. There is therefore a need to formulate an evidence-based approach to neurology education. A comprehensive systematic review of educational interventions in neurology was performed. BEI, Cochrane Library, Dialog Datastar, EBSCO Biomedical, EBSCO Psychology & Behavioral Sciences, EMBASE, ERIC, First Search, MDConsult, Medline, Proquest Medical Library and Web of Knowledge databases were searched for all published studies assessing interventions in neurology education among undergraduate students, junior medical doctors and residents up to and including July 2012. Two independent literature searches were performed for relevant studies, which were then classified for level of evidence using the Centre of Evidence-based Medicine criteria and four levels of Kirkpatrick educational outcomes. One systematic review, 16 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), nine non-randomized cohort/follow-up studies, 33 case series or historically controlled studies and three mechanism-based reasoning studies were identified. Educational interventions showed favourable evaluation or assessment outcomes in 15 of 16 (94%) RCTs. Very few studies measured subsequent clinical behaviour (two studies) and patient outcomes (one study). There is very little high quality evidence of demonstrably effective neurology education. However, RCTs are emerging, albeit without meeting comprehensive educational criteria. An improving evidence base in the quality of neurology education will be important to reduce neurophobia.

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