Pharmacy: Evidence-based Practice

Drug information for clinicians, students, and researchers.

Help for Journal Club

These sources include critically appraised articles- usually original research studies, but also meta-analyses and systematic reviews. You will be able to access the full original research article (or meta-analysis/systematic review) and read critical comments from faculty and researchers on the original study's design and conduct, collection of data, methods used to analyze the data, and results/conclusions.

Because of the way they are created, critically appraised articles can help you develop your critical appraisal skills, and provide help with creating journal club presentations. 

Pharmacist's Letter

  Definition and Steps of the EBP process

Whether you call it Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), or Evidence-Based Pharmacy (EBP), the principles are the same. For this guide we will use EBP to mean all of the above.

STEPS of Evidence-Based Practice

  1. ASK. Create a focused, searchable clinical question.
  2. ACCESS. Search for the evidence.
  3. APPRAISE your results critically.
  4. APPLY results to your patient.
  5. ASSESS. Evaluate the effects of Step 4, reformulate and repeat process if necessary. Also look at your process and correct/improve as necessary. 

This page will walk through the steps and link relevant resources to each step.

Ask: Creating Searchable Clinical Questions

The EBP practitioner must identify questions from a clinical scenario. Clinical scenarios are usually complicated and contain too many factors to be searched effectively. Most searches in information resources use 1 to 3 concepts. The PICO model is used in EBP to assist in identification of key concepts, words, and phrases. 

P: patient, problem, or population
I: Intervention
C: Comparison
O: Outcome

Once you have used PICO to identify key words and concepts, you can construct a focused clinical question. This question will guide you as you search for and evaluate literature. 

An Evidence Pyramid

Evidence-Based Summaries

Evidence-Based Guidelines

Professional groups, non-profit organizations, and government agencies often develop guidelines and make them available freely on their websites. Search or browse groups like the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Veterans Health Administration, or U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Use Google to find additional groups focused on your specialty.

National Guideline Clearinghouse ceased in July 2018. There is no replacement product with the scope and depth of NGC. Use one or more of these sources to identify and access full-text guidelines.

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Original Studies

Appraise the Evidence

These books and guides provide overviews of the EBP process as well as assistance with interpreting results provided in articles and calculating results from data presented in articles.

Apply, Assess

Application of your evidence-based decision to your patient requires factoring in patient preferences, abilities, and resources-- pharmacy's focus on interacting with patients provides you with great help here-- and clinician experience and resources.

Assessment involves evaluation of the patient after application of your evidence-based decision.

Assessment also includes evaluation of your EBP process and abilities in order to improve over time.

Practicing EBP also gives you a chance to identify gaps in research literature-- a great way to discover new research you could conduct.