What is evidence-based practice?
"the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research". Sackett, D.L. (1996)
Questions arise every day in the course of caring for patients.
- Your patient with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has resistant hypertension. He has had some reduction in systolic blood pressure using a combination of valsartan and positive airway pressure therapy but studies on use of antihypertensive medications in OSA have produced conflicting results. You decide to review the most recent evidence.
- You want to develop a business case to pilot wearable technology for use by stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation.
- You want to develop a research-based protocol aimed at improving the wound care management of home-bound patients with chronic non-healing leg wounds.
- Your patient with Parkinson's Disease has seen recent media publicity on the benefits of stationary bike riding for relieving symptoms such as tremor. They ask if this would help them.
Each of these scenarios presents an opportunity to make best practice decisions based on systematic use of the best available evidence.