Curriculum Design of a Case-based Knowledge Translation Shift for Emergency Medicine Residents


  • Presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine midwest regional meeting, Ann Arbor, MI, September 2009; the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors Academic Assembly, Orlando, FL, March 2010; the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians resident research competition, Chicago, IL, April 2010; and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine annual meeting, Phoenix, AZ, June 2010.

  • Supervising Editor: Nicole DeIorio, MD.

Address for correspondence and reprints: Sara Friedman, MD; e-mail:,


Background:  Principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM) may be inconsistently applied to clinical decision-making due to lack of practice-based training, experience, and time.

Objectives:  The authors sought to design, implement, and test the feasibility of an experiential learning model for senior emergency medicine (EM) residents to apply EBM principles during real-time clinical practice.

Methods:  Targeted program evaluation of this learning model was conducted through a prospective observational cohort study involving EM residents at a large, urban, 4-year EM residency program. The curriculum development of a case-based knowledge translation shift followed Kern’s six-step design process. Subjects asynchronously completed a 1-hour EBM tutorial and were then assigned to clinical shifts in which they contributed to the care of emergency department (ED) patients by completing formal literature searches related to active management questions. Pre- and post-intervention self-assessments of practice norms and attitudes were used to evaluate the effect of this experiential learning model for individual residents. Self-assessments of the likelihood that the experience would result in future practice change were reported on a five-point Likert scale (1 = greatly impeded, 2 = somewhat impeded, 3 = no change, 4 = somewhat improved, 5 = greatly improved). Subjects presented available evidence to the primary ED team, formally disseminated their findings as a brief “EBM rounds” at sign-out and completed an “EBM consult note” and case log to document shift performance. Changes in patient management and/or disposition were recorded. EBM search questions and resultant findings were entered in a local database.

Results:  Of the 45 eligible senior EM resident shifts, 91% resulted in complete sets of performance data and self-assessments. A total of 80 patient encounters were documented during 45 scheduled shifts over a 3-month study period. Literature review took a mean (±SD) of 36.2 (±26.4) minutes per case. During the 3-hour interval before or after shift sign-out, residents completed a mean (±SD) of 2.11 (±1.4) literature searches and recorded a mean (±SD) of 3.0 (±1.5) articles for each case. Alterations in ED management for 13 of 80 patient encounters (16.3%) were documented to be the direct result of on-shift literature searches.

Conclusions:  Case-based knowledge translation shifts for senior EM residents can provide opportunities to practice EBM skills in the ED. This experiential learning model may result in future practice change by resident learners, as well as affect the management of active patients in the ED.

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE  2010; 17:S42–S48 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine