An Interdisciplinary Approach to Implementing a Best Practice Guideline in Public Health

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This article describes how one Ontario Public Health Unit implemented a best practice guideline throughout the organization and across disciplines to achieve best practice outcomes in the delivery of client-centered care. Integration of evidence-informed practice presents challenges for both implementation and sustainability. Applying a best practice guideline in the public health setting can add to the challenge. To address this, a variety of interventions were applied: building an interdisciplinary team, adapting a Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario Best Practice Guideline to reflect public health practice for nursing and other disciplines, developing a working definition of “client,” engaging staff in knowledge translation, developing policy to support practice change, and incorporating client-centered care principles into daily practice. Outcomes indicate that nursing best practice guidelines, specific to client-centered care, can be successfully adapted and applied in public health practice. Considerations include the varied definitions of a “client,” the various roles of public health professionals, and engagement of both internal and external clients. Moreover, interdisciplinary staff can apply the principles of client-centered care when working with clients and when engaging in education-, practice-, and policy-level initiatives to support evidence-informed practice.

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