Evidence-based practice (EBP) has been defined by each field that employs it. There are common elements to the various definitions that include the judicious use of the best research evidence (i.e., highest quality, most current) in order to improve the health and safety of patients while reducing overall costs and variation in health outcomes. High quality best evidence is combined with professional expertise and the values, preferences, and expectations of the person under treatment or the population under consideration.
The emphases can be slightly different in different fields. While in clinical areas (Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy) the focus is on the patient, in Kinesiology, the focus is on the athlete and in Public Health, on a population.
In fields other than medicine, evidence-based practice focuses on the clinical experience and research evidence produced by nurses, allied health professionals, movement scientists, athletic trainers,and population health researchers.
You might find these additional definitions helpful:
There are several reasons EBP has become important in caring for patients, athletes, and for guiding decisions affecting populations.
What does evidence-based research look like? Here are some examples of questions researchers pursued to understand what the evidence shows and how to apply it to people. Click on the titles to be taken to the the articles. A snippet from the abstract is included below each title.
"With increased use of cannabis-based products by the public for both recreational and medical use, sports medicine clinicians should be informed of historical context, current legal considerations, and existing evidence with regard to efficacy, safety, and risks in the athletic community."
"Some healthcare providers believe bedrails prevent falls, while others think they are ineffective and dangerous. A systematic review was conducted to address: 'For older adults living in nursing homes, does more or less bedrail use reduce the incidence of falls?'"
"The objective of this study was to review randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which included a wearable activity tracker in an intervention to promote physical activity among cardiac rehabilitation (CR) participants, and to conduct a meta-analysis for the outcomes of step counts and aerobic capacity (V˙o2max)."
The process of evidence-based practice can be represented in various ways, differing somewhat by discipline, but it always begins with the person or population of interest: a patient, client, athlete, or a population, such as a group of adolescents in Detroit. The A's represent the steps that you take in the process, such as ASK a question, ACQUIRE information, APPRAISE information, APPLY the information, ASSESS the outcomes.
The EBP process begins and ends with the person or population.