Book Review: Evidence-Based Practice for Health Professionals: An Interprofessional Approach

By | 25th July 2015

While evidence-based practice (EBP) has become an essential component of training in a wide range of healthcare professions, a textbook for beginning practitioners was largely missing. Howlett, Rogo, and Shelton authored Evidence-Based Practice for Health Professionals: An Interprofessional Approach to engage student audiences from rehabilitation, medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health programs. The text was designed to help readers achieve two objectives: (1) to locate, interpret, evaluate, and apply research to the care of individual patients/consumers; and (2) to effectively communicate research results to consumers, colleagues, and other professionals. The authors’ emphasis is on the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate informed, evidence-based, and patient-centered healthcare decisions.

The text has two parts and 11 chapters. Part I, “Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice,” consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 defines and explains EBP; Chapter 2 provides an overview of research methods; Chapter 3 examines health communication; Chapter 4 illustrates the process of locating relevant evidence; and to conclude, Chapters 5 and 6 review basic descriptive and inferential statistics, respectively. Part II, “Applications of Evidence-Based Practice,” explores how EBP is implemented in different contexts. Chapter 7 introduces readers to epidemiology as it relates to EBP; subsequent chapters depict EBP in assessment and diagnosis (Chapter 8), treatment, examination of harm, and prevention (Chapter 9), and working with the pharmaceutical industry (Chapter 10). Finally, Chapter 11 synthesizes the process of implementation of EBP including detailed simulation of critical appraisal of examples from research studies.

In this text, the process of EBP is broken down into concrete steps, and a variety of tools to work through these steps are presented. For example, evaluation of research evidence to clinical questions is daunting for beginners. To guide this process, the authors present a systematic method in a chart to compare components of the clinical question with components as addressed in the study. Similarly, critical appraisal of trustworthiness of research may appear to be a formidable process to novices. The authors provide worksheets to use for appraising quantitative and qualitative studies composed of questions on various dimensions of research reports that contribute to their overall credibility. These focused steps can guide beginners in EBP in simulating the process of critical analysis of an experienced practitioner. Tools like these can play a vital role in the development of skills and judgment needed for evidence-based clinical decision making.

Due to the rapid pace of scientific and technological advancement, healthcare professionals are increasingly required to locate, appraise, and synthesize most up-to-date information in their daily practice, rather than solely rely on the previously acquired knowledge base. In addition to deciphering the procedure of EBP, this text introduces beginning clinicians to processes of healthcare provision that is based on critical thinking. The versatile tools, in combination with ample case studies dealing with an array of clinical conditions, render this text particularly suitable for experiential approach to training interprofessional teams composed of early career professionals. In conclusion, the text is a unique contribution to the clinical training in healthcare disciplines on multiple dimensions, including EBP and interprofessional care.

Review by: Naoko Yura Yasui, PhD, CRC; Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Studies, Alabama State University

Evidence-Based Practice for Health Professionals: An Interprofessional Approach
Howlett, B., Rogo, E. J., and Shelton, T. G.
Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett; 2014
394 pages; US$86.95
ISBN 9781449652777