There are at least 5 reasons why we should care about evidenced-based practice. One being – is the information we’re reading credible?
We, as human beings, have amazing brains. So, we can think in incredible ways.
Humans also experience a plethora of emotions.
The way we think and process our feelings can lead to astounding problem-solving abilities.
But, and perhaps even more frequent, our thoughts and emotions interfere with our ability to be objective while collecting information and problem-solving.
As a nurse, looking for evidence of scientific research helps me understand the level of reliability and credibility of the information I’m reading.
But, it shouldn’t just be healthcare providers and scientists looking for research and evidence.
All of us should be looking for research and evidence-based practice when we read new health-related information.
It’s our standard to objectively determine if the information is valid.
Why We Should Care About Evidenced-based Practice
Credible health and medical information is essential when we are making decisions about treatment options.
But, with the advent of information-sharing on the Internet and social media, it’s also becoming an important piece of determining the validity of what we’re reading, believing, and sharing with others.
Public opinion or popularity doesn’t make invalid information more credible or applicable.
In fact, it can make it potentially dangerous.
We all have a responsibility in making sure the information we are sharing with others is credible and valid.
Let’s Start with a Definition
Now Let’s Get to the 5 Reasons Why We Should Care About Evidenced-based Practice
Emotions are the first reason why we should care about evidence-based practice.
According to this study, humans experience 27 emotions.
Some emotions can drive our thoughts more than others.
It lessens interference from our emotions.
For example, if a loved one is sick, we want to believe there is a cure to make them better.
However, there can be times when we want to believe in a treatment option so much that we can become blind to scientific facts.
We are at a greater risk of making bad decisions when this occurs.
Unfortunately, we’ve heard of horror stories related to this happening.
- People spend a lot of money for unproven treatment options.
- Some people go to foreign countries to save money, but ignore safety recommendations of evidence-based practice and research.
- Still, others accept out-right dangerous suggestions because someone convinces them that the person they love will get better with a particular treatment.
Evidenced-based practice protects us from these situations.
And, in many cases, it can save lives.
The next reason why we should care about evidence-based practice relates to our thoughts and beliefs.
Our thoughts and opinions carry a lot of weight with what we choose to believe.
No one sets out to do this on purpose. But I think that in itself shows how powerful our thoughts and suppositions are and how much they impact our choices.
Looking for and identifying evidenced-based practice reduces the interference from our thoughts and beliefs.
For some people, religious beliefs drive their thoughts.
Maybe for others, it could be their political views .
For others it may be related to their financial thoughts and experiences.
And still, for others, it could be none of the above. For instance, their current (or previous) circumstances can drive people to a certain point of view.
The risk is that all of these thought paradigms can influence decision-making without us even knowing it. So, our choices may not reflect the best option if we compare it to scientific evidence.
Evidenced-based practice and research helps us be objective when we make health-related choices.
Again using the Canberra website, we see there are five steps in the evidence-based practice process.
Scientists and experts are required to ask the following questions.
- Are the results valid?
- Can we trust the results with a high level of confidence?
- How will the treatment impact patient outcomes?
Results or treatment options are appraised for validity, impact, and applicability which increases the confidence level and the reliability that the ‘treatment’ will have a positive impact on the patient outcome.
Double-blinded studies are one of the highest standards of testing.
In other words, scientists take steps to show the answer is credible.
Scientists expect the solution to give the patient(s) the same positive outcome.
Isn’t that what we all want if we are sick or injured?
4 Why We Should Care About Evidenced-based Practice – Is it Reproducible?
This next point is probably one we mention the least.
But, it’s one of the most imperative.
Is the patient outcome reproducible in multiple patients?
For example, doctor A gives patient 1 ‘x’ treatment in city, state.
If the treatment is reproducible, we should be able to expect the same patient outcome from doctor B’s patient 1, who was given ‘x’ treatment in different city, different state.
Scientists use complex statistical analyses to determine whether the outcome was indeed related to the treatment.
These statistics prove (with a high level of confidence) that the outcome did not happen due to chance.
If it’s not reproducible, scientists figure out why before recommending the treatment.
Additionally, variables are statistically considered to see how they influence patient outcomes.
Using evidence-based practice ensures the treatment is reproducible in multiple patients.
5 Peer Review – Why We Should Care About Evidenced-based Practice
Finally, part of the process includes asking scientists, healthcare providers, and others with clinical expertise to prove them wrong.
Study authors publish their findings in scientific, health, and medical journals.
The authors include details about their study methods, descriptions, outcomes, and conclusions.
The purpose is so others with similar education, research knowledge, and expertise can ask questions. They do this to ‘poke holes’ in the study.
In essence, it’s a final litmus test to validate the credibility of the test results.
Peer-reviewed results exhibit the rigor to stand up to the criticism of experts and prove why it is valid (versus proving why it is wrong).
We should not only want this, but expect it!
Be diligent. Look for links to published studies when you are reading health or medical-related information.
5 Reasons Why We Should Care About Evidenced-based Practice
Please consider these important points related to Evidence-based practice when making health-related decisions.
- Lessens interference from our emotions.
- Reduces interference from our thoughts and beliefs.
- Increases the confidence level and the reliability that the treatment will have a positive impact on the patient outcome.
- Is reproducible in multiple patients.
- Exhibits the rigor to stand up to the criticism of experts to prove why it is valid.
When should you accept the information as valid?
Only after you have proof of scientific research through an evidence-based practice process.
It is my hope that moving forward when you are reviewing health or medical information that you look for evidence-based practice.
Doing so is the safest way to make an informed decision about your health and medical care.
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