Evidence-Based Medicine and Quality Improvement: A Marriage Made In Heaven

Evidence-based medicine and quality improvement offer complementary focus and methods to achieve the best possible patient outcomes.

In a previous article, I discussed the need to close the implementation gap between evidence and action.

To solve this problem, Glasziou, Ogrinc and Goodman1 propose an integration of two different approaches – Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and Quality Improvement (QI).

In their model, both EBM and QI help to improve care but in different ways:

  • EBM – a focus on “doing the right things”; and
  • QI – a focus on “doing things right.””

Together, EBM and QI will result in “doing the right things right”!

The authors also make pertinent points about:

  • Re-establishing a clear link between EBM and QI, which has been somewhat lost with the rise in popularity of the PDSA cycle;
  • Having at least some members of a QI team with high level skills in EBM and at least some members of an EBM team with high level skills in QI;
  • Formally evaluating the effectiveness of methods used in both disciplines in various contexts; and
  • Incorporating EBM and QI in clinical training at all levels.

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  1. Glasziou P, Ogrinc G, Goodman S. Can evidence-based medicine and clinical quality improvement learn from each other? BMJ Qual Saf [Internet] 2011;20 Suppl 1:i13–7. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs.2010.046524