Evidence-based Practice

Evidence-based Practice (EBP) is a thoughtful integration of the best available evidence, coupled with clinical expertise, for a recommended treatment, diagnostic procedure, or cause of a condition. As such it enables health practitioners of all varieties to address healthcare questions with an evaluative and qualitative approach, but implies that the results of medical research weigh over personal opinion. EBP allows the practitioner to assess current and past research, clinical guidelines, and other information resources in order to identify relevant literature while differentiating between high-quality and low-quality findings.

The practice of EBP includes five fundamental steps:

Step 1: Formulating a well-built question

Step 2: Identifying articles and other evidence-based resources that answer the question

Step 3: Critically appraising the evidence to assess its validity

Step 4: Applying the evidence

Step 5: Re-evaluating the application of evidence and areas for improvement

(Reference: The 5-Step Process: Introduction)

There are a number of systems for evaluating the strength of evidence during the review process. See one example: Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine – Levels of Evidence

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