Step 3: Appraise/Assess the Evidence

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Evidence-Based Practice Applied to the Clinical Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Step 3: Appraise/Assess the Evidence

Once you have obtained the data, articles, or information you need to evaluate the proposed change, the third step is to appraise/assess the evidence. This is often the most difficult step in the EBP process. There are roughly 6,000 articles published each day in the categories of medicine and biomedical science. Some sources have stated that on average, 200 articles need to be perused before finding one valid and relevant article. It takes practice and skill to evaluate a resource for its validity, scope, precision, and research design.
The initial screening of the accumulated evidence requires the use of inclusion and exclusion criteria, as shown below.
Inclusion Criteria - Possible reasons to include an article or other source in the literature review
  • The evidence is potentially relevant to the review question.
  • The practice is in use and available for adoption.
  • The results are reproducible in other comparable settings.
  • The evidence addresses a defined population or group of patients.
  • The evidence impacts a positive outcome related to patient safety.
Exclusion Criteria - Possible reasons to exclude an article or other source in the literature review
  • No practice was assessed, or there was no finding with an identifiable outcome measure.
  • The practice was not sufficiently described, or was described inconsistently with evidence review practice definition or requirements.
  • The outcome is not evidence, but commentary or opinion.