What is evidence-based practice?
Many publications contain definitions of evidence-based practice, evidence-based medicine, and evidence-based nursing. Below are a few favorites:
- a problem-solving approach to clinical practice that integrates a systematic search for, critical appraisal and synthesis of the best external evidence; the practitioner's clinical expertise, and patient preferences and values. (Melnyk, BM. Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: a guide to best practice. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011:4.)
- the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. (Sackett DL, Rosenberg WMC, Gray JAM, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence-based Medicine - What it is and what it isn't. BMJ. 1996;312:71. DOI=10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71)
- integration of the best evidence available, nursing expertise, and the values and preferences of the individuals, families and communities who are served. (Evidence-based Nursing Position Statement; Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. Accessed June 20, 2012.)
WHAT DO ALL THESE DEFINITIONS HAVE IN COMMON?
THE INTEGRATION OF CLINICAL EXPERTISE;
CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE RESEARCH LITERATURE;
AND PATIENT PREFERENCES AND VALUES
IN ORDER TO PROVIDE PATIENTS THE BEST POSSIBLE CARE.
IS A PROCESS CONTAINING FIVE STEPS.
Why evidence-based practice?
The most important reason for practicing evidence-based healthcare is to improve quality of care through the identification and promotion of practices that work, and the elimination of those that are ineffective or harmful. (Gray GE, Pinson LA. Evidence-based medicine and psychiatric practice. Psychiatr Q. 2003:74(4):387-99. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71.)
Evidence-based practice is thought to lead to:
the highest quality of care
the best patient outcomes
reduced healthcare costs and geographic variation in the delivery of care
greater empowerment of clinicians
greater clinician satisfaction and lower turnover rate in certain healthcare professions
(Melnyk, BM: 7.)