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18-09-2018 | Review Article | Uitgave 5/2018 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 5/2018

Examining the readiness of best evidence in medical education guides for integration into educational practice: A meta-synthesis

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 5/2018
Lauren A. Maggio, Aliki Thomas, H. Carrie Chen, John P. A. Ioannidis, Steven L. Kanter, Candace Norton, Nancy H. Tannery, Anthony R. Artino Jr.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



To support evidence-informed education, health professions education (HPE) stakeholders encourage the creation and use of knowledge syntheses or reviews. However, it is unclear if these knowledge syntheses are ready for translation into educational practice. Without understanding the readiness, defined by three criteria—quality, accessibility and relevance—we risk translating weak evidence into practice and/or providing information that is not useful to educators.


A librarian searched Web of Science for knowledge syntheses, specifically Best Evidence in Medical Education (BEME) Guides. This meta-synthesis focuses on BEME Guides because of their explicit goal to inform educational practice and policy. Two authors extracted data from all Guides, guided by the 25-item STructured apprOach to the Reporting In healthcare education of Evidence Synthesis (STORIES).


Forty-two Guides published in Medical Teacher between 1999 and 2017 were analyzed. No Guide met all STORIES criteria, but all included structured summaries and most described their literature search (n = 39) and study inclusion/exclusion (n = 40) procedures. Eleven Guides reported the presence of theory and/or educational principles, and eight consulted with external subject matter experts. Accessibility to each Guide’s full-text and supplemental materials was variable.


For a subset of HPE knowledge syntheses, BEME Guides, this meta-synthesis identifies factors that support readiness and indicates potential areas of improvement, such as consistent access to Guides and inclusion of external subject matter experts on the review team. This analysis is useful for understanding the current readiness of HPE knowledge syntheses and informing future reviews to evolve so they can catalyze translation of evidence into educational practice.
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