Evidence informed practice is used to design health promoting initiatives using information about what works. It is also a way to evaluate our own practice and programs in an ongoing way to demonstrate if anyone is better off.
Evidence informed practice joins research with patient values and knowledge. It connects local practitioner experience with other expertise. This way, we support health promotion practice with theory while remaining flexible, innovative, and responsive.
We need evidence about:
- The health issue we are addressing
- Why action is needed
- What achieves the outcomes we want
- How to put what works into practice successfully
- Who to involve, including partners, communities and key stakeholders and how best to work together
When using evidence in health promotion practice, we would:
- Consider the best data available from reliable and high-quality sources
- Use the evidence to plan and implement actions
- Consider both short-term and long-term effective outcomes
- Take in to account the capacity of the individual, organisation or community
- Be sensitive to the specific context in which the health issue occurs. For example, setting, culture, history and available resources
- Recognise that moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual values may affect actions to improve health, as a client or a practitioner
- Be applied in a systematic way for high quality evaluation
- Use different measures such as quantitative data (for example the number of people affected) and qualitative data (for example information gathered from interviews or open-ended questions).
Where to go for evidence:
Evidence used in health promotion could come from service data or evaluations, or from the broad research base. Research evidence can be found in population health statistics, scientific journals and other publications. For example, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, local government reports or national policies or discussion papers may have the evidence needed to support your activity.