The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

INTEGRATING EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE WITH POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

B. Hochleitner1, N. Ayers1


Background: Policies and procedures provide the framework for Respiratory Care practice. Supporting that framework with evidence-based standards insures optimal patient safety and outcomes. Problem: Existing respiratory care policy and procedure processes were unstructured and inconsistent. Policies and procedures were not formatted to current evidence-based standards. There was no formal committee charter or regularly scheduled meetings to discuss policy and procedure needs. Purpose: To create a structured respiratory care policy and procedure committee. The goal was to establish an effective approach in integrating evidence-based medicine into the policy and procedure process within the framework of the committee.

Method:
A team of respiratory therapists formally created a policy and procedure committee to incorporate evidence based medicine with existing policies and procedures. A formal committee charter was created and developmental guidelines for integrating evidence-based practices were utilized. A committee chairperson was appointed to coordinate and facilitate committee activities, and act as liaison to the Evidence-Based Practice committee meetings. Policy and procedure committee members attended a hands-on class presentation introducing evidence-based practices and demonstrations on searching of databases. Members also completed an evidence-based practice tool kit which established a foundation for the committee’s work. This included new components to the policy and procedure process such as key points, evidence summaries and search words. All references were standardized to the American Psychological Association (APA) format.

Results:
A formal policy and procedure committee was created, facilitated by a chairperson and guided by a committee charter. An evidence-based approach was utilized to incorporate the most current and best evidence into respiratory therapy’s policies and procedures. Outcomes: The Respiratory Therapy Policy and Procedure Committee has become a structured and productive committee. Previously there had been no record of committee meetings. Policies did not meet evidence-based standards and committee productivity was lacking. Meetings are now held on a monthly basis with formal agendas and record keeping. The committe has completed 40 evidence-based policies utilizing the new process. Goals for the committee moving forward include increasing committee membership and standardizing respiratory clinical practice guidelines.

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