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Evidence-based practice (EBP)

In the clinical setting, health professionals make decisions about patient care every day. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach which helps guide this decision-making.

In EBP, decisions about patient care are guided by three kinds of information:

  • best research evidence
  • clinical expertise
  • patient values and circumstances

Select the plus symbols below to learn more about each of the EBP areas.

The five key steps

There are five key steps in the evidence-based practice process, starting with formulating a question and ending with the evaluation of practice. These steps may be linear, or they may lead you to another clinical question to investigate.

Select the plus symbols below to read more about each of the steps.

Watch this short video to learn more about the three main domains of evidence-based practice and the five key steps.

International Academy of Osteopathy 2015, Evidence-based practice (EBP), YouTube 
Running time: 1:42 minutes

Purpose of EBP

Practitioners use EBP to ensure that decisions about patient care are informed by the best possible information.

The purpose of EBP is to:

  • improve quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of clinical practice
  • reduce variations in practice patterns 
  • substantiate the care provided to patients
  • share decision-making with the patients
  • provide a framework for lifelong, self-directed learning crucial for continued provision of quality care
    Paraphrased from Cormack 2002, pp. 484-487.

Select the plus symbols below for more about the importance of the EBP areas.

Watch the video below to learn more about why EPB is a valuable tool.

CYMH_ON 2014, Evidence-Informed Practice
Running time: 4:14 minutes

Glossary of terms

You may find that this guide uses terminology that you are unfamiliar with. The following provide easy to understand definitions of key terms:

Further reading

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