Top 20 poems of the past 20 years: A survey of practice-changing research for family physicians

Mark H. Ebell, Henry C. Barry, Allen F. Shaughnessy, David C. Slawson, Nita Kulkarni, Linda Speer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are studies that address a relevant clinical question, demonstrate improved patient-oriented outcomes, and have the potential to change practice. For 20 years the authors of this article have reviewed more than 100 English language clinical journals monthly to identify POEMs in the medical literature relevant to primary care practice. This article identifies the POEMs in each of the last 20 years that were highest ranked for having recommended a major and persistent change in practice that year. They include POEMs that recommend a novel, effective intervention, a second group that recommends abandoning an ineffective practice, and a third group that recommends abandoning a potentially harmful practice. The top POEMs of the past 20 years illustrate the breadth of practice change in primary care and the need for family physicians to have a systematic approach to keeping up with the medical literature, such as that in POEMs, especially because many of these important articles did not appear in the primary care literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-439
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Acute illness
  • Chronic disease
  • Education
  • Poem
  • Prevention
  • Promotion of health
  • Women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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