Evidence-based healthcare: Not a top priority for hospitals, survey of nurses finds

Use of evidence-based practices remains low at several United States hospitals, even though use of such practices has been linked to higher care quality, better patient experiences and lower costs, according to a study in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing.

A team of researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus surveyed 276 chief nurse executives to gauge the prioritization of evidence-based practices at their institutions.

More than half of survey participants asserted that evidence-based practice is implemented in their organization "not at all" or "somewhat." When asked to list their institute's top three priorities, they placed quality and safety in the one and two spots. Evidence-based practices ranked significantly lower.

"When patients get evidence-based care, they have 28 percent better outcomes. That's a big deal," said study co-author Lynn Gallagher-Ford, PhD, RN. "The chief nurses we surveyed reported that they planned to focus on evidence-based practice as soon as they had a handle on quality and safety. That's the disconnect — leaders think it is a competing priority when in reality, evidence-based practice is the exact mechanism that needs to be integrated in order to achieve and sustain safety."

The researchers asserted that until hospital leadership aligns itself with investment in evidence-based practices, quality of care and patient safety will suffer.

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, a study co-author, believes patients should seek practitioners whom are willing to present the evidence behind the care.

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