The role of evidence reports in evidence-based medicine: a mechanism for linking scientific evidence and practice improvement.
STUDY QUESTIONS: In this article two related questions are considered: (1) Why isn't evidence-based medicine (EBM) more consistently implemented? and (2) Using the EBM paradigm, by what mechanism can we link evidence reports to concrete practice improvement activities? STUDY DESIGN: To motivate a systematic analysis, answers to these questions are framed within the context of a general conceptual model for practice improvement, using as an example the application of this general model to the question of improving anticoagulation. CONCLUSIONS: The potential role of evidence reports is quite broad and to be most effective, they should (1) be considered as part of a comprehensive strategy for practice improvement and (2) be designed with their customers in mind. A system-based method for using the information from evidence reports involves ultimately suggesting specific practice improvement strategies in which the strategies are defined in terms of (1) a set of functional specifications and (2) a toolbox of implementation options. Such an approach brings to bear the specialized expertise and generalized fund of scientific knowledge used to produce the evidence report, but does so in a way that facilitates local tailoring. That is, while information synthesis should be global, implementation must be local.
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