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Evidence-Based Practice Guide

For a more comprehensive discussion of Evidence-Based Practice, check out our Evidence-Based Practice Guide!

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

What is evidence-based practice?

Originally coined as Evidence-Based Medicine, the concept has been expanded over the years to include a variety of disciplines and fields.  As such, you may see references to Evidence-Based Medicine, Evidence-Based Dentistry, Evidence-Based Nursing, and others.

However, for the most part these all refer to the same basic concept of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), or using the best evidence available, combined with the practitioner's clinical expertise and the patient's preferences, to inform the care of patients.

EBP is typically broken down into 5 main steps:

  • Ask a focused clinical question
  • Acquire evidence to answer the question
  • Appraise the evidence found for quality and rigor
  • Apply the evidence to patient care
  • Assess the effect of this application on patient outcomes



What is evidence-based medicine?

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.  The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research."

Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 312(7023), 71–72.


What it is AAC EBP?

"AAC evidence-based practice (EBP) requires the collection, evaluation, and integration of the best evidence available.  The types of evidence used to drive the EBP process are critical to making decisions that make a difference to client outcomes."

Hill, K. & Romich, B. (2007). AAC Evidence-Based Practice: Four Steps to Optimized Communication.  AAC Institute Press, 6(1).


Why is evidence-based practice important in assistive technology?

"Despite major advancements in the technology environment, AT devices, and rapid advances in outcomes methodology, outcomes never seemed to charge into the mainstream of AT research.  This has turned into a significant field-wide problem as evidence-based funding has become a reality."

Smith, R. (2016). The emergence and emergency of assistive technology outcomes research methodology.  Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, 10(1), 19-37.

Understanding Evidence Based Practice

Video created by Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).  This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.