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Preparing Dental Students and Residents to Overcome Internal and External Barriers to Evidence-Based Practice

Preparing Dental Students and Residents to Overcome Internal and External Barriers to Evidence-Based Practice

Journal of Dental Education 80(10): 1161-1169

In recent years, evidence-based dentistry has become the ideal for research, academia, and clinical practice. However, barriers to implementation are many, including the complexity of interpreting conflicting evidence as well as difficulties in accessing it. Furthermore, many proponents of evidence-based care seem to assume that good evidence consistently exists and that clinicians can and will objectively evaluate data so as to apply the best evidence to individual patients' needs. The authors argue that these shortcomings may mislead many clinicians and that students should be adequately prepared to cope with some of the more complex issues surrounding evidence-based practice. Cognitive biases and heuristics shape every aspect of our lives, including our professional behavior. This article reviews literature from medicine, psychology, and behavioral economics to explore the barriers to implementing evidence-based dentistry. Internal factors include biases that affect clinical decision making: hindsight bias, optimism bias, survivor bias, and blind-spot bias. External factors include publication bias, corporate bias, and lack of transparency that may skew the available evidence in the peer-reviewed literature. Raising awareness of how these biases exert subtle influence on decision making and patient care can lead to a more nuanced discussion of addressing and overcoming barriers to evidence-based practice.

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Accession: 058609383

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PMID: 27694289

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