Evidence-based practice in the hospital setting views of interdisciplinary therapy practitioners


BACKGROUND: In the United States’ changing health care climate, an updated picture of evidence-based practice (EBP) in the hospital setting is needed. Researchers explored EBP activities that interdisciplinary therapy team members used most frequently to acquire and appraise clinical evidence, therapists’ perceptions of EBP, and barriers and enablers to EBP implementation within two similar acute-care hospitals in the Midwest.

METHODS: An electronic survey was distributed to 190 therapy practitioners working in two acute-care hospital settings. Eighty-four practitioners completed the 54-item electronic survey (n=84; 44% response rate). The sample consisted of 21 speech-language pathologists, 19 occupational therapists, 30 physical therapists, and 14 physical or occupational therapy assistants.

RESULTS: Practitioners reported utilizing past experience and colleague interaction most frequently to acquire and appraise evidence; participants used self-reflective activities, such as journal clubs and carrying out research, infrequently. All disciplines placed high personal and professional value on EBP but indicated only moderate amounts of workplace support and personal preparedness to acquire, critique, and implement evidence. All disciplines indicated time was the largest EBP barrier. For enablers of EBP, disciplines responded differently, reporting support in the form of resources, training, and departmental goals.

CONCLUSION: Pooled results indicated EBP activities used most frequently were of the lowest levels of clinical evidence; more effective EBP activities, such as self-reflection and participation in research, were rarely used. Hospital-based interdisciplinary therapy practitioners valued EBP but reported workplace constraints limiting implementation. Barriers to EBP were similar across disciplines, while enablers differed between disciplines.


Occupational Therapy

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Journal of Allied Health