Healthcare News & Insights

Evidence-based practice centers can help hospitals

Research has shown that evidence-based care strategies can improve quality and patient outcomes. But putting them into practice without any guidance can be tricky. That’s where evidence-based practice centers come in. 

482855199The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-Based Practice, hosted by ECRI Institute, looked at whether information available from the center has helped hospital decisionmakers as they create strategies to boost quality of care.

According to a news release, the center is staffed by a hospitalist director, research analysts, physicians and nurses, a health economist, a biostatistician and an administrator, along with several librarians. Its goal is to review published studies and then take that information and turn it into actionable material for hospitals.

Along with making the materials available to hospital executives and clinical staff online, the center also conducts onsite training about evidence-based decision making.

The center creates evidence-based reports on a variety of topics, including care processes, organizational systems, and drugs and devices. Specific topics covered recently include the use of automated systems to monitor hand hygiene and how to manage patients who experience gastrointestional bleeding.

Many of the reports were used to develop modules for hospitals’ electronic health records (EHR) systems. Facilities can work with their vendors to implement these modules, which are designed to double-check that clinicians are following evidence-based standards for various conditions.

Benefits for decision makers

Hospital executives who accessed the reports found them helpful. A survey conducted by Penn Medicine as part of its data-collection process showed that almost all respondents thought the reports contained the right level of detail – with 77% saying the information confirmed their decision to incorporate evidence-based practice into their care delivery.

Specifically, respondents cited the report’s neutral spin on the research and its skill in making the evidence seem more practical to their daily care processes.

Role hospitals can play

It’s essential for hospitals to take advantage of resources such as evidence-based practice centers to make the most informed decisions regarding patient care – especially when making changes to care protocol.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) manages 13 different evidence-based practice centers at hospitals and research facilities throughout the country. Much of the information they produce is available to healthcare executives, clinicians and other high-level decision makers.

Executives and clinicians are also free to submit their own ideas for research topics, as well as comment on any research questions, research priorities or draft reports. It’s an excellent opportunity to make an impact on data that could be used as part of other federal initiatives down the line (including the push toward value-based care).

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