Evidence-based medicine knowledge, attitudes, and practices among doctors in Sri Lanka.
To assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices on evidence-based medicine (EBM) among doctors in selected hospitals in Sri Lanka. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted among 315 doctors in five government hospitals in Sri Lanka between December 2007 and January 2008. A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire was used to gather information on knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Of the 407 invited, 315 doctors participated, among whom, 87% (271) had heard the term EBM, 30% (n= 94) were aware of the Cochrane Library, and 8.5% (n= 27) were current users of it. Forty-seven per cent (n= 148) claimed to understand the terms systematic review and 37% (n= 115) meta-analysis. Twenty-four per cent (n= 77) had been exposed to some form of EBM training. All three components of EBM were known by 18% (n= 56) of participants. Attitudes toward EBM were positive among 76% (n= 239), 80% (n= 251) believed the practice of EBM would lead to improved patient care, and 77% (n= 243) considered EBM to be fundamental to professional practice. Just 3% (n= 13) considered it unimportant. EBM was used in clinical practice by 54% (n= 169) of participants. Thirty-six per cent (n= 114) referred to EBM sources when relevant. Available clinical guidelines were referred to by 56% (n= 176), and 34% (n= 107) thought that available guidelines provide sufficient support for the practice of EBM. The main barriers to practicing EBM were insufficient resources, overwork, lack of exposure to EBM, and lack of time and lack of endorsement of the need to practice EBM. Knowledge and practices of EBM among Sri Lanka doctors were poor. However, attitudes toward EBM were relatively good. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd and Chinese Cochrane Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University.