Practical Tips in Finding the Evidence: An Allied Health Primer

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About the textbook

Written by 22 authors from Australia, the Philippines and New Zealand, this innovative textbook is a unique product from the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, a University of South Australia research centre and member of the Sansom Institute.

This textbook empowers allied health clinicians in sourcing and implementing research evidence into their clinical practice. It has universal application across any medical field or industry, as the procedures for accessing evidence-based information translate across all arenas.

iCAHE Textbook Summary: Practical tips in finding the evidence: An Allied Health Primer

Practical Tips in Finding the Evidence is a step by step guide for clinicians and students. Readers will be guided through the following processes:

  • Framing a clinical question
  • Sourcing research evidence
  • Evaluating evidence for quality and validity
  • Implementing research into clinical practice (demonstrated through practical examples and case studies)

These techniques can be applied to any clinical case, at any time, by any student or allied health clinician, using freely available research literature sources.

This textbook helps the reader find the evidence in a number of allied health fields including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic and osteopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Prosthetics and orthotics
  • Social work
  • Speech Pathology

Example pages

Open the iCAHE Textbook Summary: Practical tips in finding the evidence: An Allied Health Primer (PDF - 273kb)

Page examples from Practical Tips in Finding the Evidence: An Allied Health Primer 

The iCAHE textbook addresses the established allied health disciplines practiced internationally and provides practical examples about how to translate clinical questions into evidence statements. In order to achieve this this textbook provides accessible information on the technical aspects of evidence and how to find this in the first four chapters of the book:

Chapter 1: What is the evidence?
Chapter 2: Finding the evidence: Planning your search 
Chapter 3: Finding the evidence: Searching evidence-based resources 
Chapter 4: Searching Practicalities 
Chapter 10: Physiotherapy  

What is evidence-based practice?

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is defined as the meticulous, overt and astute use of current best evidence in making decisions regarding the care of patients.  The importance of evidence-based practice in health care has been recognised since the early 1990s.

Positive impacts of evidence-based practice in clinical practice:

  • Optimise patient outcomes
  • Reduce treatment variability and poor quality care
  • Improve patient safety

Many allied health practitioners are familiar with the concept, but many questions remain, such as:

  • How do we conduct the research?
  • How do we look at the strength of the evidence?
  • How do we determine the validity and importance of the information?

Best-practices and standards of care are often discussed, but the origins of these standards remain a mystery. Many clinicians are unable to access the necessary training to interpret the findings in literature, resulting in the standards continuing to be unchallenged.

Research demonstrates that allied health practitioners can be inclined to use treatments that they believe are successful the majority of the time, or those we learned from our mentors. It is possible, however, to lose track of instances in which certain therapeutics fell short.

So how do we change our methods of practice? We do this through evidence and research, and by using the individual and interdisciplinary expertise of clinicians. We build a case and set out to prove or disprove the current thinking. As allied health continues to move forward, evidence for what we do and how we do it becomes even more critical.

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Areas of study and research

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