How do health care organizations take on best practices? A scoping literature review

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Abstract

Aims:

The aims of this scoping literature review are to examine and summarize the organizational-level factors, context, and processes that influence the use of evidence-based practice in healthcare organizations.

Methods:

A scoping literature review was done to answer the question: What is known from the existing empirical literature about factors, context, and processes that influence the uptake, implementation, and sustainability of evidence-based practice in healthcare organizations? This review used the Arksey and O’Malley framework to describe findings and to identify gaps in the existing research literature. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were developed to screen studies. Relevant studies published between January 1991 and March 2014 were identified using four electronic databases. Study abstracts were screened for eligibility by two reviewers. Following this screening process, full-text articles were reviewed to determine the eligibility of the studies by the primary author. Eligible studies were then analyzed by coding findings with descriptive labels to distinguish elements that appeared relevant to this literature review. Coding was used to form categories, and these categories led to the development of themes.

Results:

Thirty studies met the eligibility criteria for this literature review. The themes identified were: the process organizations use to select evidence-based practices for adoption, use of a needs assessment, linkage to the organization's strategic direction, organizational culture, the organization's internal social networks, resources (including education and training, presence of information technology, financial resources, resources for patient care, and staff qualifications), leadership, the presence of champions, standardization of processes, role clarity of staff, and the presence of social capital.

Conclusion:

Several gaps were identified by this review. There is a lack of research on how evidence-based practices may be sustained by organizations. Most of the research done to date has been cross-sectional. Longitudinal research would give insight into the relationship between organizational characteristics and the uptake, implementation, and sustainability of evidence-based practice. In addition, although it is clear that financial resources are required to implement evidence-based practice, existing studies contain a lack of detail about the cost of adopting and using new practices. This scoping review contains a number of implications for healthcare administrators, managers, and providers to consider when adopting and implementing evidence-based practices in healthcare organizations.

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