The Ethics of Evidence Implementation in Health Care
Physiotherapy research international : the journal for researchers and clinicians in physical therapy 2010 Jun; 15(2): 96-102
Evidence based practice is increasingly mandated by all stakeholders as an integral process of ensuring safe and quality health care. It is recognised that evidence based practice can contribute to minimising misuse, overuse and underuse of health care. Operationalising evidence based practice requires physiotherapists to access relevant evidence, appraise the evidence for its methodological quality, extract information relevant to their practice, and implement it as part of health care service delivery. The final step in this process is to evaluate evidence implementation and reflect what, if any, changes to health care processes and outcomes was achieved. From a theoretical perspective, these steps seem logical and readily achievable. However, practical application in clinical practice settings has encountered numerous barriers. One such barrier, which is commonly encountered and is a contentious area, is the issue of ethics in evidence implementation. Using two hypothetical case studies, we aim to highlight common frustrations encountered by physiotherapists when implementing evidence into practice, ethical ambiguity underpinning evidence implementation and discuss implications in terms of clinical practice and research.
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