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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Green, K.E., Taylor, C.A. & Torgerson, C. (2012). An overview of systematic reviews in medical education and a focused review in prescribing. Effective Education 4(2): 147-167.

Author(s) from Durham


Background: Tertiary reviews (review of reviews) in medical education tend to focus on doctors, continuing education and professional practice. This paper provides a tertiary review of all areas of medical education at all levels. An in-depth focus on prescribing is included. Methods and results: A systematic search using the keywords ‘medical education’ AND (‘systematic review’ OR ‘meta-analysis’) yielded 187 reviews. Reviews were coded by intervention, curriculum/theme, participants and outcomes, creating a systematic map. The most popular interventions and curriculum were simulation (9%) and prescribing (7%), respectively. Most reviews included multiple participant types (68%) and sought patient/health outcomes (64%). Twelve prescribing reviews included in the in-depth review found active educational strategies more effective than passive strategies. Discussion: The systematic map highlights topics and interventions, but further research should explore the cost-effectiveness of the reviews themselves. Prescribing reviews tend to focus on doctors; more research into the acquisition of prescribing skills by students/junior doctors is required.

School of Education