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Overcoming Barriers to Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) in medicine refers to applying the best available research evidence to clinical decision-making. It emphasizes integrating the latest scientific findings with professional expertise and patient preferences to find the most efficient ways of solving medical problems. Despite its apparent advantages, EBP often encounters resistance from more traditionally-minded practitioners. The implementation of this approach can also run into unintentional intellectual, material, and organizational barriers. To overcome these barriers, health care organizations need to adopt a systematic approach to support the introduction of EBP.

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In the example health care organization, a small U.S. hospital, the official adaptation of EBP has not yet resulted in the widespread use of evidence-based methods. While some employees are skeptical towards EBP and regard it as unnecessary interference with their established procedures, most accept its merits in theory (Polit & Beck, 2017). However, many employees do not know how to access the latest research or effectively incorporate it into their everyday practice. Furthermore, their ability to research and integrate EBP is hampered by time and resource constraints. As a result, many practitioners continue using non-EBP methods, even when current scientific evidence suggests that they are inefficient or dangerous.

To begin addressing those barriers, the hospital must provide systematic institutional support for EBP integration. One way to improve EBP adaptation is to provide evidence-based clinical practice guidelines that summarize relevant research findings for particular practice areas (Polit & Beck, 2017). Similarly, care bundles could be introduced to guide interventions into specific symptom clusters. The hospital should also encourage continuing EBP education by providing employees with sufficient time away and financial support, as well as arranging participation in EBP mentorship and training programs (Polit & Beck, 2017). When given the necessary information and the ability to process it, employees should find it much easier to apply EBP in their daily practice.

Although EBP is necessary to utilize the latest medical findings, its effective implementation requires institutional support. Though most health care professionals accept the need for evidence-based medicine in theory, their ability to adapt it in practice is limited by their knowledge, training, and resource and time constraints. Health care organizations seeking to implement EBP should provide their employees with clear, actionable guidelines and access to continuing education. When empowered with knowledge and resources, practitioners could use EBP to deliver the best results that the current state of scientific research can support.


Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

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