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Pros & Cons of Evidence-Based Practice

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Evidence-based practice (EBP) refers to interventions for mental and behavior problems. These interventions have been proven to work. Evidence-based practice is also referred to as empirically-supported treatment. EBP utilizes research, findings and summaries to provide medical professionals, educators and decision-makers with the most sound information available about a specific medical area.

Health Insurance

The health insurance factor in evidence-based practice is both a pro and a con of EBP. While some health insurance companies are willing to provide coverage, particularly if the treatment for the problem in question has been shown to be effective, the same insurance companies may deny coverage if there isn’t yet EBP research done on the issue at hand. This puts patients who are struggling with not-yet-EPB-proven problems in a difficult situation: They cannot always receive health coverage, and the treatments that their doctor would use may be effective even if it hasn’t gone through EBP yet.

Concrete Knowledge

With the advent of EBP, concrete knowledge of effective -- and ineffective -- treatments for specific problems was introduced to several medical fields, from psychology and psychiatry to medicine and rehab. Before EBP, medical professionals often based their information on areas that had not been researched in depth. This proved problematic, as those seeking treatment weren’t given the treatment they actually needed. In turn, the integrity of several medical fields waned. With EBP, treatment is based on research and fact instead of tradition and past attempts that happened to randomly work.

Quality of Care

One of the largest pros of evidence-based practice is that the quality of care improves. Through a combination of scientifically researched information, patient reports and the observations of medical professionals, the most dependable evidence is gathered, referred to and used in order to treat patients. Aside from showcasing which types of treatments will work on a patient, EBP is even more apt to show which treatments don’t work. One major role of EBP is to discredit ineffective treatments, in whole or in part.

Poor Evidence

However great EBP may sound in many circumstances, the technique isn’t infallible. As with any scientific research, is it susceptible to human error. Evidence isn’t always perfect and experiments aren’t always observed as they should be. Sometimes research is incomplete or contradictory. Also, there can't be a cookie-cutter approach to treatments; research doesn’t show that one type of treatment works completely while another doesn’t work at all. Instead, there are levels of proven research, dividing evidence into weaker and stronger categories of effectiveness.


As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.

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