How to Overcome Barriers in Evidence-Based Practice

by Kristin Jennifer; Updated September 26, 2017
Barriers in evidence-based practice include a fear of practicing differently than professional peers.

Evidence-based practice is one in which doctors and nurses actively apply evidentiary research results to treatment of patients. The practice gives patients access to the latest care methods, however, it is rarely employed. Misconception that evidence-based practice lacks the humanism of intuitive care and time constraints to perform the research and stay abreast of research news are frequent barriers in evidence-based practice. Research evidence must also be appraised and evaluated for its applicability which can be daunting as well.

Step 1

Organize a staff meeting of doctors and nurses. Explain the definition of evidence-based practice and how it is used in similar practice settings. Discuss the value of implementing the practice method in your facility. Explain that instituting evidence-based practice methods will require a cultural shift in the office and involvement from everyone. Express that patients will still have the ability to determine which methods of treatment are right for them after considering treatment methods. Doctors and nurses still use professional knowledge in assessing when to apply evidence-based methods and evidence-based methods can keep the practice up-to-date and improve service to patients.

Step 2

Encourage online research. A wide variety of journals publish medical research articles but it is inefficient and expensive for a medical practice to maintain subscriptions to every possible journal to cull relevant articles. Instead, teach practitioners to search for relevant articles online. Pull up your favorite search engine or PubMed.gov, an abstraction service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Type in a topic, such as the name of the illness. Lists of abstracts on the subject will result, allowing practitioners to review abstracts for relevance.

Step 3

Implement changes slowly. Start a journal club in the office. Assign each club meeting a research article to review and discuss. Host the meeting at lunchtime once or twice a month to encourage the involvement of the entire team. Each member should participate. Ask open questions and encourage members to search the text for the evidence. Ask members to appraise the evidence and identify in which situations it may and may not apply.

Step 4

Host evidence-based practice round-table forums. Schedule the forums on a monthly basis. Enlist the aid of each staff member on a rotating basis. Each will have a specialty that she can research, which will require reading several articles, and then she can prepare a presentation to answer a key practice-related question. The person should be prepared to answer questions from other colleagues.

About the Author

Kristin Jennifer began writing professionally in 2010, with her work appearing on eHow. She has five years of experience working as an immigration specialist in Houston and New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in economics from Barnard College.

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