How to make evidence-based practice work
Many professions have moved towards evidence-based practice over the years. The real pioneers here have been the various medical and health services around the world, but as a concept it is being increasingly used in just about every industry to a lesser or greater extent. However whilst there is a growth in evidence-based practice, it is not as wide-spread as should be which leads to the question How do you make evidence-based practice work?
What is evidence-based practice?
Evidence based practice is the “Conscientious, conscious and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions”. In other words using the best and latest evidence from systematic and valid research integrated with experience from practice, which means that practitioners are up-to-date with and use the latest research evidence and practice from around the world to make better decisions and implement better solutions.
A paper just released yesterday by a team of practitioners and researchers from a series of universities in Norway and Canada, including the Centre for Evidence-Based Practice at Bergen University College in Norway, reports on a study they conducted looking at a wide range of strategies for the implementation of evidence based practice to see what are the critical factors for success.
3 core challenges for evidence-based practice
In order to make evidence-based practice work the researchers identified three core or key challenges for anyone who wants to implement and make a success of evidence based practice:
- The first and main key challenge they identified was creating an interest in evidence-based practice in the organisation. This usually happens when people realise there is good evidence out there to help them make better decisions and then experience the benefit of this.
- The second issue is developing a practical and working understanding of how to go about evidence based practice. This is often a training then coaching then mentoring exercise. The TCM (Train, Coach, then Mentor) approach works for many issues and really helps embed practice.
- The third challenge is supporting evidence-based practice on an ongoing basis.
The researchers discovered that there are two primary prerequisites for successful implementation of evidence-based practice:
- The first is management involvement in the whole process. This is in line with a whole slew of studies highlighting the key role middle managers play in innovation and change in organisations. Where organisations have failed (Kodak, Polaroid, Nokia, etc.) time and time again it has been shown that the perspective and lack of agility and ability of the middle managers have been central to the failure. Aligned managers, particularly middle managers hold the key to successful implementation.
- Secondly, the researchers found that providing access to relevant and understandable evidence (research) about practice and findings that inform decisions was a major prerequisite for success.
Providing relevant and understandable evidence
This second issue of providing relevant and understandable evidence is easier in clinical situations where practice in hospitals and healthcare for example, is usually closely associated with universities and academics. Outside of this it is important to find a reliable source that makes the latest thinking and research, accessible and practically relevant.
The Oxford Review
The Oxford Review has been specifically designed to be a reliable, up-to-date, relevant, actionable and understandable evidence for consultants, coaches, leaders, managers, L&D, OD and HR practitioners. Indeed The Oxford Review is aimed at just this: Enhancing evidence based practice; the foundation of every professionals work.
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Aasekjær, K., Waehle, H. V., Ciliska, D., Nordtvedt, M. W., & Hjälmhult, E. (2016). Management Involvement—A Decisive Condition When Implementing Evidence‐Based Practice. Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing.
Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 312(7023), 71.
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