More research findings are being published each year. This means there is an increasing body of evidence that you can use in your practice and decision-making. This evidence can be found in journal articles, guidelines, websites and advice from peak bodies. There can also be evidence and knowledge about your local context coming from census documents, audits or quality improvement activities. Identifying relevant research and understanding its implications for practice contributes to the quality of the care you and your service provide.
Evidence can be used in many different ways. First it can help you build and update your personal knowledge base. Second, you may need to look for evidence to answer a specific question or to help provide care to a particular client. Third, evidence may be used to develop policies or approaches for use within your organisation or service. Fourth, you can include research evidence in audit and quality improvement processes which aim to assess and improve care. Fifth, it can be used in guidance resources that support professional practice. Finally evidence is increasingly being embedded in clinical decision making systems that guide care provision.
The processes associated with evidence-based practice cover the following steps
- Asking a question
- Finding what evidence is available
- Assessing the quality and usefulness of the evidence
- Deciding how it can help you answer the question
- Checking that it answers the question
Finding the right research and evidence for your work, and for the care that you and your team provide is crucial. This will help to help to ensure that your practice is underpinned by best evidence, is as safe as possible and will lead to the best outcome and is as effective.
The Knowledge Network,
NHS Education for Scotland
Centre for Evidence Based Medicine
Page updated 24 January 2019