Making decisions based on clinical expertise, patients values and evidence : EBM Workshop

When the workshop was planned a few months back, little did we know that we would be providing decision-support tools for patient care. And little did we know that we would be working from home anxiously searching for the best available practical evidence to support the medical doctors during a global pandemic.

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Venue of the Workshop

So what is EBM? Evidence based medicine (EBM) is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients1. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. The impact of EBM has been shown to :

  1. Shorten hospital stays
  2. Reduce costs
  3. Improve clinician’s skills
  4. Increase clinical questioning2

The main speaker, Prof Liew Su-May and the participants

Realizing its importance, TJ Danaraj Medical Library and the Medical Library Group had organized The Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) Workshop on the 24th and 25th February 2020 at the Faculty of Medicine (FoM), University of Malaya. The objective of the workshop was to introduce EBM concepts and processes so that librarians can support doctors and medical researchers to practice EBM.

Overall, the event was a success with active participations from the audience. Participants comprised of 24 librarians and information professionals from private and government institutions nationwide including 4 from Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak respectively. Prof Dr. Ng Chirk Jenn, Deputy Dean (Research), FoM officiated the workshop and Prof Dr. Liew Su May conducted the sessions with assistance from Dr Ranita Hisham from the library. Dr Khasiah Zakaria, Chief Librarian of UML did the closing of the workshop and was delighted that TJ Danaraj Medical Library had initiated the workshop with faculty collaboration.

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Prof CJ giving the opening speech

The topics discussed in the workshop are as follows:

  1. Introduction to EBM and question formulation
  2. Role of medical librarian
  3. Databases and searching
  4. Study designs
  5. Introduction to systematic review
  6. Searching for systematic review
  7. Challenges and what’s next?

With participants from UNIMAS, Sarawak

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1st day with Prof Ng Chirk Jenn, Deputy Dean (Research), FoM


With the team

As a result of the workshop, a platform was set up to assist clinicians to retrieve the best available evidence regarding COVID-19; It is a service provided by a team of evidence-based medicine experts, librarians, doctors, and medical students. With the use of controlled vocabulary, keyword searching and identifying appropriate resources in multiple complex interfaces, librarians help to support critical appraisal of literatures.

It is hoped that this initiative would provide high-quality, relevant, and up-to-date synthesized research evidence to meet the challenge of combatting the new deadly virus, the SARs-CoV-2.


  1. Sackett, D. L. , Rosenberg, W. M. C., Gray J A Muir, Haynes B R & Richardson W S (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. British Medical Journal, 312, pp 71-72.
  2. Riley B., Orlov N., Werner D., Martin S. K., Vineet M. Arora, Alkureishi M. (2018). Evaluating the impact of clinical librarians on clinical questions during inpatient rounds. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 106 (No. 2), pp 175 – 184

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