Evidence-based practice is "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of [clients]". (Sackett, Richardson, Rosenberg & Haynes, 1997, 2)
Practitioners, consumers and third party payers want to know if a prescribed treatment works.
Evidence-based practice (EBP) interventions are typically associated with multiple randomized controlled research trials which are summarized in journal reviews. The research seeks to examine and identify which treatment interventions are effective. Examples include: reduction of symptoms, number of hospitalizations, improvement in social and vocational functioning, increases in self-reported positive moods, etc.
The California Evidence-Based Clearing House for Child Welfare (CEBC) adds another layer to this. The CEBC describes EBP as the intersection of the best research evidence, best clinical experiences, and that is consistent with client values.
Evidence-based practice refers not just to research based treatment interventions, but to research at the organizational level too. It has become necessary in the human service field to integrate research to practice and practice to research.
When reading a review, it's important to examine the procedures for how research studies were identified for inclusion and exclusion. Reviews serve as a good starting place, but should never substitute for your own careful examination of the literature if it's a topic that's important to you.
The following organizations systematically review and report on EBP for health and mental health interventions.
A promising practice is an intervention that has had positive outcomes, however, the intervention does not meet the criteria for an evidence-based practice treatment.