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Evidence based practice (EBP)

What is Evidence Based Practice?

Best evidence available

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Good health professionals inform their clinical practice by consulting the best evidence available to them.

Depending on the type of clinical question (risk, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, prevention, harm), the level of hierarchical evidence available will vary from the lowest levels, such as expert opinion, through to individual case studies, cohort studies, clinical trials and, finally, randomised trials and meta-analysies at the highest level.

Evidence based practice is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care. Clinical expertise refers to the clinician's cumulated experience, education and clinical skills. The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal and unique concerns, expectations, and values. The best evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology. (Sackett, D.L. 2000)



5 steps of EBP

Five steps of evidence based practice based:

  1. Assess
    Assess the situation

  2. Ask
    Ask the question. Take time to formulate a clear and detailed question

  3. Acquire
    Find the best evidence. Search for the best possible evidence from high quality, peer-reviewed sources

  4. Appraise
    Evaluate evidence. Evaluate the evidence for quality and relevance as applicable to current situation

  5. Apply
    Apply information. Apply the information in combination with clinical experience and patient values

Always evaluate the outcomes in regard to the current issue and to future situaltions.


Duke University Medical Center Library and Health Sciences Library. (2010). What is evidence-based practice (EBP)?

Sackett, D.L. et al., (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ, 312.