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The art and science of evidence-based care

By February 12, 2014September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Erinn Aspinall

Our medical librarians play a key supporting role

Evidence-based practice combines the highest quality evidence with practitioner expertise and patient needs to deliver the best care.  This evidence-based approach to health care has found itself at the heart of modern clinical practice, and at the center of our librarians and staff at the Bio-Medical Library.

Evidence in our collections

It is hard to imagine a time when evidence-based practice was not the norm, though this approach to patient care has had a brief 20-year history. Increased and easier access to the medical literature has been one of the driving forces in the ability to practice evidence-based care.

The Bio-Medical Library is the primary source of medical information for the Academic Health Center, providing access to more than 3,500 journal titles and 160,000 books, along with high-quality literature databases and online point-of-care tools that can be searched at the push of a button.

Evidence in our instruction

Jonathan Koffel

Jonathan Koffel

Finding and evaluating information is a key component of evidence-based practice. This is where the staff at the Bio-Medical Library play an important role.

“Helping health providers find, evaluate, and use quality information to support their clinical work is what we have been trained to do.  It is what we do best,” says Jonathan Koffel, Clinical Information Librarian and liaison to the Medical School.

Koffel’s days are busy as he joins physicians on patient rounds, where he is often called upon to find information as part of the patient care team. He has also developed the Bio-Medical library’s Empowering Evidence Workshop, which was held for a second time this January.

The Empowering Evidence Workshop is a two-day course offered to Academic Health Center faculty.  The goal of the course is to strengthen the participants’ own skills and support their teaching of evidence-based practice.

Anne Beschnett

Anne Beschnett

The workshop’s 11 instructors span a range of disciplines, including medicine, public health, pharmacy, and nursing. The library was represented by Koffel and Anne Beschnett.  Koffel organized the workshop and provided an overview of statistics.  Beschnett covered tools and techniques for quickly finding the best evidence, a critical skill is that is made difficult by the increasing quantity of information.  In addition, Beschnett covered how to present best evidence to patients and ensure that care reflects their needs, a topic that is often overlooked in evidence-based practice training.

The first Empowering Evidence Workshop was recognized by UMNews in the article “Why health care needs science,”  This year’s workshop continues to be recognized through positive feedback from participants, who recognize its value for EPB teaching and practice.

“The empowering evidence workshop provided a useful refresher on EBP and provided practical tools and resources for boosting my own EBP and teaching my students and residents. I would highly recommend this program for any clinician and/or teacher.” — 2014 Workshop Participant

Evidence in our tutorials

The library’s Evidence-Based Practice Tutorial has always seen high use, with over 2 million page views since its launch in 2011.  With the growing importance of evidence-based practice, there was a need to add more discipline-specific cases and enhance the critical appraisal portion of the tutorial.  The liaison librarians at the Bio-Medical Library saw this as a great opportunity to enrich their support of evidence-based care within the Academic Health Center.

The updated tutorial now includes content tailored to dentistry, nursing, medicine, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, and veterinary medicine. Its critical appraisal content guides users through a clear process to check information for validity, with specific questions related to diagnosis, therapy, harm, and prognosis.

The Evidence-Based Practice Tutorial serves as a great stand-alone tool.  It can also be integrated into the course setting and highlighted on Moodle pages alongside course content.

Evidence in our systematic reviews

The evidence-based practice framework uses “levels of evidence” to determine the quality of information. Systematic reviews — literature reviews that focus on a research question that tries to identify and select all high quality research evidence relevant to that question — are considered the gold standard when it comes to finding the best evidence.

The Bio-Medical Library has seen an increasing interest in systematic reviews within the Academic Health Center, conducting over 35 literature searches to support systematic reviews in 2013.

With the start of 2014, the Bio-Medical Library is preparing to launch its new Systematic Review Service that will provide literature reviews to contribute to evidence-based practice and informed patient care.

Evidence in our work

The Bio-Medical Library provides a wide range of services to support evidence-based practice within the Academic Health Center. Its collection provides the science, and its staff members share their expertise to support the art of putting evidence into practice.

For more information

Contact your liaison librarian.

Mark Engebretson

Author Mark Engebretson

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