Healthcare in the 21st century has been influenced greatly by evidence-based practices. Clinicians and nurses use evidence-based practices to carry out their day-to-day activities. Traditional clinical operations are being replaced by new scientific research evidence of better health care delivery. However, the use of evidence-based practices in healthcare decision-making is still a topic of interest to many researchers. Since the inception of evidence-based practices in nursing, negligible changes in operations have occurred. This is because regardless of the many researches that provide better ways of carrying out nursing practices, managers and decision makers remain reluctant to change due to ignorance and organizational barriers. Many issues in nursing today can quickly find their solution in evidence-based clinical practices, but the continual habit of the management team to relay on outdated information to make decisions is a major barrier to healthcare breakthrough (Brown & Farquhar, 2014). Thus, evidence-based practices cannot make an impact on healthcare without the involvement of the managers who are the key decision makers on clinical operations.
Many systematic reviews exist on evidence-based practices in healthcare, but there are few studies that touch on the use of evidence-based practices in the management of healthcare. The scope of these studies, in addition, is too wide, thus making it difficult for managers to make ideal decisions on healthcare management (Overholt et al., 2010). To achieve the desired outcomes of this study, we sought articles from systematic reviews published in various databases including Cochrane database of systematic reviews, database of abstract of reviews of the effect, NHS economic evaluation database, as well as health and technology assessment database. The relevant material was identified by hand searching the databases from their start up to August, 2014. We screened the materials and ranked them based on their relevance to evidence-based healthcare management using rapid critical appraisal checklist for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and evaluation table template. We appraised the materials for quality and relevance on the topic of discussion by the use of the two aforementioned appraisal tools. The evaluation table template was the standardized language summary tool we applied to summarize the materials used for analysis to ensure standardized results.
The paper analyzed four peer-reviewed materials that addressed evidence-based healthcare management from different points of view, ranging from access to evidence, the process towards incorporating evidence in decision making and the limitations to this kind of change, including technology in health care organizations. All the materials suggested there was need for managers to embrace evidence-based practices in making health care decisions. In addition, they also indicated that the transition from traditional ways of management to evidence-based management would not be easy due to the differences that exist between healthcare operations and clinical operations (Ryan et al., 2014). A lot of evidence-based research is conducted in relation to clinical operation, thus making it difficult for healthcare managers to embrace the same strategies in making healthcare decisions. The four materials, however, gave four different strategies of ensuring evidence-based healthcare management with the same common goal of providing effective resources management, reduced costs of operations, improved healthcare delivery and improving the public perception of care.
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The first reviewed article emphasized on the difference between clinical and healthcare operations. According to Walshe & Rundall (2001), these are the main challenges to evidence-based healthcare management; therefore, there is need for the health department to address the problem in order to pave the way for the employment of evidenced-based practices in healthcare. In addition, the article proposed several ways of adopting evidence-based healthcare management. These include the adoption of a new evidence-based culture and changing the way managers make decisions by improving management willingness. In addition, the research shows that for evidence-based healthcare management to be effected in healthcare institutions, the government must be involved. Increased government investment in this kind of research would help a great deal in incorporating research evidence in decision-making.
The second research emphasized on the exclusion of biased opinion and personal emotions from decision making in the healthcare field. This is because the findings of the study indicated that the staff in healthcare facilities made decisions based on personal opinions (Yu-Chih et al., 2013).
The third research cited the unavailability and inaccessibility of evidence material as the greatest challenge for managers towards achieving evidence-based healthcare management. The research advocated more material to be availed for managers and decision makers in the healthcare sphere.
The fourth research emphasized the complications brought about by technology as the barrier to healthcare management (Peace, 2011). Therefore, the study suggested better use of technology to minimize negative impacts while taking advantage of the positive technological impacts in healthcare management.
All four studies had a common weakness: they all pointed out that only a few studies have been conducted on the topic under investigation, and this made it difficult to substantiate the information and suggestions made by these authors. Therefore, it is imperative that scholars write more literature on the issue of evidence-based healthcare management in order to achieve the desired results in the entire health care industry (Li-chi, 2014).