Evidence Based Practice
Evidence-based practice is a scientific approach that originated in the field of medicine with the aim of integrating clinical experience and best available research evidence. Often referred to as “evidence-based medicine” in its field of origin, the approach enables health practitioners to respond to healthcare challenges from a perspective that is both qualitative and evaluative. Because of the clear benefits it brought to the field of medicine, evidence based practice was subjectively modified adopted by such diverse fields as nursing, dentistry, education, psychology, and social work.
Instead basing their decisions tradition, single observations, or “gut reaction,” practitioners in such disciplines now use the approach to critically and systematically appraise both past and current research and to integrate the resulting knowledge with evidence from other literature and information resources.
By so doing, they are able to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality findings and to interpret the implications and applications for their practice. The resulting multifaceted evidence may then be applied in one’s practice. The practitioner carefully measures and assesses the results of the application in order to identify sources of success as well as areas for further improvements. Practitioners who adopt evidence based practice commit to a continuing, dynamic process that never ceases as new evidence emerges and new knowledge evolves in day-to-day practice. The practitioner strives unceasingly to integrate these diverse sources of knowledge so as to continuously and consistently improve outcomes.