Saturday, July 14, 2007
This presentation is part of : Staying on the Other Side of the Chasm: Sustaining the Success of EBP Efforts
Information Communication Technologies to Support and Sustain Evidence-Based Practice
Lisa Hopp, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN, USA

This paper will present evidence on how information communication technologies (ICTs) can support or pose barriers to sustaining evidence-based practice (EBP). First, I will provide an overview of current ICTs found in first-world healthcare systems designed to support EBP. Second, I will examine ICT standards and their relationship to EBP implementation. Thirdly, I will examine barriers to EBP and recommendations for how ICT solutions might break through them and sustain evidence-based practice efforts.

Modern ICTs that relate to evidence-based practice include the electronic health record, digital evidence libraries and databases, clinical decision support systems, data gathering and mining systems and communication technologies. In order to be effective and efficient these technologies should be easy to access and use, scalable, highly reliable, secure and adaptable.

While a variety of ICTs relevant to EBP exist, their ability to increase the use of evidence to improve patient outcomes remains in question. Some of these technologies include computer aided decision support tools, integrated prompts and reminders, alert systems, and audit and feedback technologies. To date, systematic reviews of ICT solutions for evidence implementation show mixed results.

Investigators have described barriers to using research. Well-designed ICTs have the potential to successfully address these hurdles like insufficient time, lack of awareness of research, lack of access to clear, compiled sources of evidence, and confidence in appraisal skills. However, nurses report that the ICTs themselves pose barriers to using evidence. These findings point to the requirements for ICTs to get and keep evidence into practice. Frontline nurses need ICTs that are quick, intuitive to navigate, provide essential, pre-appraised evidence and data sources, can be adapted to specific queries and analyses and able to display findings clearly. These technologies are emerging; frontline staff must be involved in the planning, design, testing and implementation phases of ICT integration.