Rapid Evidence Adoption to Improve Health Outcomes

By Patrick H. Conway
November 2, 2012 | Commentary

The translation of new evidence into reliable practice typically takes years and sometimes decades. For interventions with a strong evidence base for improving outcomes, the absence of a reliable evidence implementation capacity means that the health system regularly and systematically fails to produce better outcomes due to lack of rapid, reliable implementation of evidence-based practices.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center focused on transforming the evidence adoption paradigm by scanning for new evidence with low uptake (e.g., less than 10 percent) and implementing high-reliability interventions to rapidly increase evidence adoption to greater than 90 percent within 6 months. First, we established a “horizon scanning” process for reviewing major journals and systematic reviews for new evidence. We then identified evidence adoption targets based on criteria such as current rate of evidence use, prevalence of condition, and estimated health impact. Once a target was identified, an improvement team was formed, which used the model for improvement to outline key drivers and tested interventions in rapid cycle.

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