Online Course in Evidence-Based Medicine

The Foun­da­tion for Blood Re­search has cre­ated an on­line course in Ev­i­dence-Based Medicine, aimed at “ad­vanced high school sci­ence stu­dents, col­lege stu­dents, nurs­ing stu­dents, and 1st or 2nd year med­i­cal stu­dents.” It fo­cuses on eval­u­at­ing re­search pa­pers and ap­ply­ing statis­tics to med­i­cal di­ag­no­sis. I have taken this course, and it was use­ful prac­tice in Bayesian rea­son­ing.

The course in­volves work­ing through a cou­ple case stud­ies of ER pa­tients. Stu­dents will ob­serve the pa­tient, re­view re­search on rele­vant di­ag­nos­tic tests, and calcu­late pos­te­rior prob­a­bil­ities given the available in­for­ma­tion. For in­stance: once case in­volves a woman who may have bac­te­rial menin­gitis, but her spinal fluid test re­sults are mixed. Stu­dents then read parts of a pa­per de­scribing the suc­cess of differ­ent com­po­nents of the spinal fluid test as pre­dic­tors of menin­gitis.

The course is self-paced and highly mod­u­lar, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween videos, mul­ti­ple choice or calcu­la­tion ques­tions, and short writ­ten sub­mis­sions. There is no in-course in­ter­ac­tion be­tween stu­dents tak­ing the same course, but it is di­vided into “class sec­tions” for the con­ve­nience of teach­ers who want to ob­serve their stu­dents. It works well with Fire­fox and Sa­fari, and slightly less well (but still eas­ily us­able) with In­ter­net Ex­plorer.

Any­one who is in­ter­ested or wants more in­for­ma­tion, look at their web­site or ask me in the com­ments. Once a de­cent num­ber of peo­ple have shown some in­ter­est, I will con­tact one of the site ad­minis­tra­tors and he’ll set up an offi­cial class sec­tion for us.

EDIT: I have con­tacted the site ad­minis­tra­tor, we should have a class sec­tion available soon. Sec­tion name and info on how to log in will be posted shortly.

EDIT2: The course sec­tion is up: go to the http://​​ev­i­dence­work­sre­​​courses/​​ and then find the Less Wrong Com­mu­nity course. When you click on the course list­ing you will be asked to reg­ister. Once you re­ceive the ac­knowl­edg­ing email re­turn to the course and en­ter the “en­rol­l­ment” key: LW101 . I will be able to see your re­sponses to the ques­tions and pos­si­bly able to provide feed­back. Once you have com­pleted the course, Dr. Allan, who is one of the de­vel­op­ers, would ap­pre­ci­ate feed­back by email.