Evidence-based Practice, with key ingredient

“Evidence-informed” or “evidence-based” practice have been buzz phrases for the last decade or two, but what does it really mean to be an evidence-based/informed decision maker? Too often health care providers have been encouraged to integrate the research evidence at the cost of other important components. There are actually three ingredients in the recipe for an evidence-informed/based practice. First, we need the best currently available research evidence on the issue at hand (e.g., veggies are an excellent source of nutrition). Next, we add the practitioner’s experience and expertise (e.g., dietitian whose has lots of recipe ideas for increasing veggies in daily intake). Third, and what has been lacking in much of health care, is the patient or client’s preferences, values, and desires (e.g., a preference for consuming only local veggies). So often we give advice without really hearing what that third ingredient is for the person we’re working with, and yet that third component makes or breaks whether the patient/client will make a change. We are experts in our own lives, and our clients/patients are experts in their own lives. When we tap into and really listen to the expertise of out patients/clients, we have an evidence-informed decision that is most likely to actually be used!