Nurse leaders slow to adopt evidence-based practices

Study also finds confusion on quality metrics

Efforts to improve patient outcomes and cut costs remain an uphill struggle for many hospitals, and much of the blame may lie with failure to use evidence-based practices, according to research published in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing.

Researchers, led by Bernadette Melnyk, dean of Ohio State University's College of Nursing, surveyed nearly 300 chief nursing executives on how they prioritized evidence-based practice. They found a common theme: Respondents vowed to tackle evidence-based practice after getting patient safety and care quality under control, co-author Lynn Gallagher-Ford told Infection Control Today. That statement indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the role such practice plays in hospital operations that likely extends to other hospital leaders as well, she said.

"That's the disconnect--leaders think it is a competing priority when in reality, evidence-based practice is the exact mechanism that needs to be integrated in order to achieve and sustain quality and safety," Gallagher-Ford said.

The Institute of Medicine has set a target for healthcare providers to make 90 percent of their decisions evidence-based by the end of the decade. But Gallagher-Ford told the publication that hospital leaders aren't actually making more progress on the issue.

Melnyk and her team also found a knowledge gap regarding how to measure outcomes, with almost half of respondents telling researchers they were unsure. These statistics are particularly troubling, Melnyk said, because leaders shape a healthcare provider's culture and infrastructure, which means the provider's overall care quality will reflect this lack of knowledge. More than 1 in 3 respondents' organizations did not meet National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators performance metrics, according to the abstract.

To learn more:
- here's the survey abstract
- read the Infection Control Today article

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