There is an interrelationship between safety and quality that is supported by incorporating clinical best practices. The impetus for quality in healthcare is driven by incorporating current research into clinical practice. The focal point for all healthcare organizations is the journey to becoming patient-centered, effective and efficient. Incorporating best practices within the clinical realm is imperative and ensures that a high level of quality is maintained within the organization.
Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) addresses the quadruple aim of patient experience, population health, reducing costs, and care team well-being (Feeley, 2017). Research has documented the correlation between the steady implementation of evidence-based practice and the provision of high-quality safe-care, improved patient outcomes, and reduced costs. In addition, it has been found that EBP empowers clinicians in a way that leads to higher levels of engagement, teamwork, and job satisfaction (Kim et al., Melnyk, Fineout-Overholt, Giggleman, & Cruz).
Healthcare organizations that can effectively build EBP cultures by dedicating resources that help sustain EBP competent clinicians are more likely to achieve the quadruple aim in healthcare. It is clear though, that EBP is not the standard of care in many healthcare systems around the globe. Many barriers exist that can inhibit clinicians from implementing evidence-based care. These barriers include inadequate knowledge and skills in EBP and cultures that are steeped in tradition (e.g., this is the way we have always done it), as well as misconceptions about the time it takes to engage in EBP.
Unfortunately, those leaders who do not embrace EBP do not then serve as effective role models. Also, in many settings, there is a lack of EBP mentors available to assist providers in implementing evidence-based care (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt; Melnyk et al.).
It has been clearly demonstrated that EBP creates a culture that fosters competency, high-quality care, and mentorship. The transparency within a culture of EBP allows for open discussions, less blame, and collaboration. Evidence-based practice begins with an organizational seed planted that can cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment.
Knowledge is the foundational underpinning for improved patient outcomes. Knowledge and education support and enable behavior changes. Understanding the clinical principles and competency to perform the skills creates a paradigm shift within the culture of the organization. Highly reliable organizations focus on providing knowledge and opportunities for competency.