An Introduction to Evidence Based Practice

Evidence based practice is one of those topics that is becoming insanely popular in the last few years. However, lots of people ask (especially experienced clinicians) why do I need to bother about it after all of these years. the reason of such attitude is largely to the wrong impression of what is evidence based practice and what does it mean for us research consumers. I thought of writing this post to give  basic point of view to evidence based practice for people who wants an easy access fun read.

It is not an exaggeration to say that number of publications is exploding and the amount of research urlcommunicated is overwhelming. "if physicians read two articles per day out of six million medical articles published annually, they would fall 82 centuries behind their reading" says William Miser which in my opinion describes the situation accurately. We face many questions in our daily lives as clinicians or as community members. " Wifi networks causes cancer", "video games makes you smarter", "vitamin C relieves Cold and Flu" or "if you burn your hand put it ice". those perceptions might vary but usually people answers them based on their understanding or based on what they heard from other people.

Unfortunately, the situation in clinical settings is not better. Clinicians might face situations where they  unsure of what to do and they do not have solid scientific evidence to rely on. However, they would use whatever knowledge and skill to cope with that situation. They might succeed and they might not. this where evidence based practice comes to the play.

But wait!!! we need to define what is meant by evidence first. According to Oxford Dictionary, evidence is defined as " the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid". It is important to notice that the definition emphasized that evidence is constituted of body of facts or information. In other words, one research paper should never be regarded as the evidence rather it should be looked upon as part of the evidence.

I am sure at this stage many clinician would say "evidence based practice is all about reading research papers which only nerds does". Well, this is wrong perception matter of fact evidence based practice extend its arms to include patients values and clinical expertise. Research is a systematic process of gathering information (data) and analyzing it to answer a predefined question. However, to apply the results of research into your clinical practice you need to consider your patients and your clinical setting and only then you call your practice as an evidence based practice.

Searching the evidence: a beginner's guide