This article is part of our Training Requirement Series where we provide comprehensive guides to meet the actual training requirements that are often needed/requested of learning and development departments within Australia's healthcare organisations. This series includes both general requirements, such as evidence-based care, but also focuses on the specific requirements stemming from the NDIS, Aged Care and NSQHS Quality Standards.
What is Evidence-Based Care?
Evidence-based care (EBC) is an approach to healthcare that emphasises the use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of patients. It integrates clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision-making process for patient care.
Why is Evidence-Based Care Important?
The significance of evidence-based care cannot be overstated. It bridges the gap between research and practice, ensuring that healthcare interventions are supported by the strongest possible evidence. Moreover, it leads to increased patient safety, better clinical outcomes, and more effective use of resources.
According to surveys conducted by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2023), respondents indicated positive individual practices changes as well as organisational changes as a result of implementing the Clinical Care Standards.
What is the "Evidence-Based Care" Training Requirement?
Training in EBC is a fundamental requirement under the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards, Action 1.27. Healthcare organisations must equip their staff with the skills to integrate best-practice evidence into their daily decision-making processes.
Action 1.27: Evidence-based care:
The healthcare organisation has processes to:
- Provide clinical staff with guidelines of best-practice, clinical pathways, integrated care pathways and decision support tools relevant to their clinical practice
- Support clinical staff to use the best available evidence (including relevant Clinical Care Standards) developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards
Failure to comply with the requirements could lead to an organisation being penalised or reprimanded.
What Skills Do Staff Need for Evidence-Based Care?
The successful application of evidence-based care requires a variety of skills. These range from the ability to search for and appraise evidence, to applying it within the clinical context and collaborating with patients to make informed decisions. Below is a detailed list of essential skills that staff members need to develop.
- Research Literacy: Understanding different types of research methods and their application in healthcare.
- Critical Appraisal: Analysing and evaluating research findings for quality, relevance, and bias.
- Statistical Proficiency: Interpreting data accurately to inform clinical decisions.
- Clinical Expertise: Applying evidence within the context of individual patient care scenarios.
- Shared Decision Making: Involving patients in their care by discussing evidence and respecting their preferences and values.
- Information Management: Efficiently finding and using the best available evidence.
- Continuous Learning: Keeping up-to-date with emerging evidence and guidelines.
How to Assess Staff Competency in Evidence-Based Care
Assessing the competency of staff in evidence-based care is crucial to ensure the quality of care provided to patients. This assessment can be carried out through various methods, each with its own unique focus on different aspects of EBC. Below is a table that outlines the various assessment methods and the competencies they measure.
||Measure of Competency
||Supervisors observe staff applying EBC in real-time clinical situations.
||Ability to incorporate evidence-based practices during patient care.
||Colleagues review each other’s work for adherence to evidence-based guidelines.
||Quality of care and adherence to evidence-based protocols.
||Staff assess their own knowledge and application of EBC.
||Self-reported proficiency and confidence in using EBC.
||Feedback is obtained from patients regarding their care.
||Patient satisfaction and perceived quality of care based on EBC practices.
||Staff are given case studies to apply evidence-based interventions.
||Application of evidence to hypothetical or real case scenarios.
Strategies to Support Healthcare Staff Reinforce Develop their Evidence-Based Care Skills
There are several strategies that organisations can implement to support their employees in developing skills in evidence-based care. These strategies help create a supportive environment for continuous learning and improvement.
- Regular Training Sessions: Workshops and seminars to keep staff updated on the latest evidence and research appraisal skills.
- Access to Resources: Providing subscriptions to medical journals, databases, and libraries to encourage self-directed learning.
- Mentorship Programs: Pairing less experienced staff with evidence-based practice mentors.
- Journal Clubs: Regularly scheduled meetings where staff discuss and critique recent articles from the medical literature.
- Online Modules: E-learning modules for flexible skill development in EBC principles.
- Interactive Case Discussions: Engaging staff in discussions about real-world cases and how to apply EBC to these situations.
- Audit and Feedback: Reviewing patient records to assess adherence to EBC and providing feedback for improvement.
Sample Training Plan for the Evidence-Based Care Training Requirement
The ability of staff to perform evidence-based care can be reinforced through an effective training program upon identifying the areas of lacking skills (via needs assessments).
Using the above needs assessment survey as an example - The evidence-based care skills that require the most attention are research literacy and information management skills. We can target learning initiatives to fill these gaps to enhance staff competency.
Please note: While this training plan can serve as a helpful starting point, it's important to understand that each organisation's training requirements are unique and should be tailored accordingly.
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Contact Ausmed today and see how we can support with your evidence-based care training requirements!
Staff Competency Assessment for Evidence-Based Care - Example
To assess a staff member's competence in conducting evidence-based care, consider the following survey questions:
Can you describe a recent instance where you incorporated evidence-based practice into patient care?
How do you stay updated with the latest evidence and research in your field?
Explain how you would approach a situation where patient preferences differ from the evidence-based recommendations.
The application of evidence-based care is essential in modern healthcare settings. Ensuring that staff have the necessary skills, providing tools for assessing competency, and implementing strategies for ongoing development are critical steps in fostering a culture of evidence-based practice.