Evidence-Based Practice: Definition & Principles

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

If you were a patient in the hospital, would you want the best and most recent evidence to be used in your care? In this lesson, we will learn about the benefits of using evidence-based practice in nursing.

What Is Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an important concept that denotes the purposeful use of the best and latest evidence in making the most appropriate decisions about patient care. If you were a medical practitioner or (let's hope not) you were the patient in a hospital, wouldn't you want only the best evidence supporting a clinical decision? Of course. It only makes sense. Let's learn about the key principles behind EBP.

Why Is It Important?

If EBP were not utilized in medical care settings, what would be the alternative? Such situations vary, but the alternatives to using the best evidence in clinical care could look something like:

  • Applying clinical care that is based on cultural tradition. While some traditional healing methodologies have been and are employed in so called 'Western' medicine, many traditional methods not only have no scientific backing but may even be harmful to the patient. The ideas of EMP set forth that the application of tradition alone in the clinical setting is not the best approach to patient care.
  • Using outdated policies/dogma. Instead of changing with the times, the practitioner would stick to what worked in the past without employing the methods that have been shown to work better using the best and latest evidence. In other words, in this alternative to EBP, people are set in their ways and unwilling to change.

Numerous studies have shown that using EBP helps to decrease healthcare costs and improve a patient's health.

Key Principles

While EBP is, at its core, a notion of using the best and most recent evidence for making good healthcare decisions, there's a lot more to it. Many hospital systems and medical practitioners in the U.S. and around the world simply don't use EBP even though they might realistically prefer for their own medical caregiver to use EBP if they found themselves in the hospital as a patient. Why? One reason for this is that EBP is a life-long and active problem-solving approach to medicine. Simply put, it's not easy. In order to properly employ EBP, the medical practitioner must:

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