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Evidence Based Practice

What is Evidence Based Practice (EBP)?


EBP is the conscientious and judicious use of:

  • The best research evidence (found in health sciences literature)
  • Clinical expertise (what the health-care provider knows)
  • Patient values and expectations (what the patient believes and wants)

Evidence Based Practice is an umbrella term that includes medicine (“Evidence Based Medicine,” or EBM), nursing, dentistry, public-health, psychology, etc.

Evidence Based Practice's Steps

EBP is primarily based on the following steps:

1) Assess

  • Identify the clinical problem.  What is it you want to know?

2) Ask

  • Convert the clinical problem into an answerable question using PICO

3) Acquire

  • Gather the best evidence to answer the question

4) Appraise

  •  Critically evaluate the evidence for validity, impact, and applicability 

5) Apply

  • Integrate your critical appraisal with your clinical expertise and the patient's unique biology, values, and circumstances

6) Evaluate 

  • Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of your performance, and seek ways to improve for next time

Why Practice EBP?

‚ÄčWhat is Evidence Base Practice?

David Sackett defined EBP as “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 D, 1996)

EBP 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 preferences and unique concerns, expectations, and values. The best research evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology. (Sackett D, 2002)

EBP Tutorials

An Introduction to Evidence Based Practice: self-paced tutorial developed by the Medical Center Library at Duke University and the Health Science Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

EBM Tutorials University of Massachusetts  Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library