What does evidence-based practice mean for me?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing

Evidence is judged through research and common practice leading to the desired outcomes for a particular health condition. It is then disseminated to health practitioners through professional journals, texts, conferences, etc. It is up to the practitioner to judge if the condition you have can be treated by the same methods for which there is evidence. This is the ideal way for health practitioners to function to produce the best possible results for their clients.

There are cautions and drawbacks. The evidence is often hard to come by. Researchers are not all of equal expertise. Sometimes their studies do not meet the criteria used for selecting their work as 'evidence'. Sometimes there is no funding available to study a promising therapy. Not all therapies fit the randomized control trial (RCT) gold standard for research methodology. Other methods of studying health treatments and outcomes are seen as less reliable and often overlooked by the medical community. Also it takes a long time for evidence to be published, delaying its acceptance and use.

Evidence-based practice is the ideal but as with all human systems it is imperfect. Continue to be creative in your practice because new evidence that comes from the 'grass roots' is valuable. Do not automatically dismiss evidence just because it is not yet published. Evidenced based-practice is evolutionary. Let the evolution continue.

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Evidence-based practice (EBP) results when the healthcare provider uses the latest knowledge from research and best-practices to provide you with the most up-to-date and effective care available.   Your health care provider learns about the best care for you by reading the latest research studies, attending conferences and learning from their colleagues.  Your health care provider also accesses guidelines created by groups of experts from national professional organizations.  These guidelines incorporate the latest information and experience so your health care provider can provide you with the most up-to-date thinking, recommendations, and care for your particular health needs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.