Researchers propose new method for closing 'evidence-to-practice' gap

A research team has proposed a new method for closing the “evidence-to-practice gap,” so physicians can provide optimal care to patients.

In a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers with the University of Michigan’s Medical School, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, proposed a new method that accelerates the application of evidence to practice.

To do just that, researchers proposed integrating Learning Health System (LHS) results with existing systematic review evidence and providing that evidence in a standardized, computable data format. The study defined an LHS as any “entity that routinely and continuously seeks to generate and learn from data for purposes of improving individual and population health.”

“LHS’s can and increasingly do exist in multiple forms and at multiple levels of scale: single-delivery systems such as the Mayo Clinic, collaboratives such as the High Value Healthcare Collaborative, and national-scale practice-based networks such as PCORnet (the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network),” the study said.

Additionally, they suggested that an expanded cycle of learning is necessary in order for continuous evidence integration in clinical practice. Researchers also stressed that in order for evidence to be used in practice it must be shareable.

“We stand on the brink of a transformation in health evidence generation and application, catalyzed by the growth of LHS practices, technological advances, shifts in culture, revised work processes, and a burning ‘need-to-know’ now,” the study concluded.

“Achieving the greatest benefit from this change begins with recognition that new evidence is necessary but not sufficient for better health and that moving evidence into practice, at present and in the future, will require an ecosystem supporting mass action at an accelerated pace. We must continually mind the knowledge-to-practice gap and take positive steps to bridge it.”