Tool to assess recognition and understanding of elements in Summary of Findings table

Date & Time
Monday, September 4, 2023, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Name
Session Type
Understanding and using evidence
Matas J1, Tokalić R2, Ursić L1, Garcia-Costa D3, Grimaldo F4, Marušić A1
1Department of Research in Biomedicine and Health, University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia
2Deparment of Haematology, Clinical Hospital Holy Spirit, Croatia
3Computer Science Department, Universitat de València, Spain
4Department of Didactics of Mathematics, Universitat de València, Spain

Background: The summary of findings (SoF) table presents the main findings of a systematic review in an understandable and simple format. In this study, we used a novel software developed to observe the process of navigation in a textual educational task to study how medical students, learning about evidence synthesis in their evidence-based medicine course, navigate through the segments of the SoF table when answering questions about the information in the table.
Objectives: To assess the ability of students to correctly interpret data presented to them in the SoF table and to critically answer questions about evidence presented in the SoF table.
Methods: At the end of a 5-day course on evidence-based medicine, which introduced the concept of the SoF tables, third-year medical students had to answer open-ended question based on an SoF table about use of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients. The SoF table had all table cells blurred except the headings for rows and columns. To make a specific table cell readable, the students had to click on it. We measured the number of target and non-target cells visited for each question and the time spent on these cells.
Results: The question with the highest percentage of correct answers was the question about the study setting (88.9%), whereas the lowest was the question about outcome with the largest improvement after intervention (28.4%). These were also the questions on which students spent most or least time and opened most or fewest table cells, respectively. Students mostly read the target cells.
Conclusions: Even though the students have formal education in key terms used in the SoF table, they have a problem of critical thinking and comparative evaluation between the elements represented in the SoF table and, consequently, in the understanding of the outcomes of the studies. Patient, public, and/or healthcare consumer involvement: The study will offer an insight into how medical professionals decision make decisions and form their answers regarding questions about therapy they are including. This has a direct effect on the well-being of patients.