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Evidence-Based Practice PT

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

What is Evidence-based practice?

The most common definition of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is from Dr. David Sackett. EBP is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.” (Sackett D, 1997, 3-5)


Evidence-based diagram



The evidence, by itself, does not make the decision, but it can help support the patient care process. The full integration of these three components into clinical decisions enhances the opportunity for optimal clinical outcomes and quality of life. The practice of EBP is usually triggered by patient encounters which generate questions about the effects of therapy, the utility of diagnostic tests, the prognosis of diseases, and/or the etiology of disorders.

The 5 Steps of the EBP Process: (commonly known as the "Five A's")

  1. Ask  - Ask a focused, searchable clinical question.
  2. Acquire - Conduct a thorough search using the appropriate resources .
  3. Appraise - evaluate the information for its validity, reliability and applicability .
  4. Apply - integrate the evidence with clinical expertise, patient preference and apply it to practice. 
  5. Assess - Evaluate and reflect on the effectiveness of the process. 

Diagram of the 5 Steps of evidence-based practice