Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) For Clinical Researchers

Review of Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based medicine is “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients” (BMJ 1996; 312: 71-2). Evidence-based practice integrates research evidence, the expertise of the clinician, and the values of the patient when making decisions related to a patient's care.


Many organizations have developed systems for defining and sharing information on evidence-based practice. Our intent is not to repeat that activity, but to identify available resources. We do not sanction one website over the other, nor do we imply that these are the only websites available from which to gather this information. See additional ACR Policies and Guidelines >

Key Concepts

Evidence-Based Practice and Programs for clinicians is the systematic application of scientific findings and knowledge to clinical practice or clinical decision making. For example, it means that a clinician is using evidence to choose diagnostic tests with the greatest reliability and interventions that have been shown to be effective.


Consolidated Sources of Evidence

Systematic Reviews
A systematic review is a synthesis of the primary studies that uses explicit and reproducible methods to review the literature. Thus, they consolidate the data from many studies on the same topic in an attempt to more clearly answer a research question.

The following websites have databases which contain systematic reviews. Some may require subscription to access.

Clinical Practice Guidelines
Guidelines for practice are prepared and published by various associations, groups and agencies with the goal of improving healthcare by providing practitioners with a consolidation of evidence related to a particular topic to guide clinical decision making or define best practice.

Evaluating the Evidence

Levels of Evidence/Strength of Evidence
There are many organizations that have developed systems for defining and describing levels of evidence or systematic approaches for evaluating research,

Critically Appraised Topics (CATs) are a systematic way of approaching and answering a clinical question.See useful resources and tools for doing your own CATs.

Searching the literature through PubMed:

Interpreting the evidence:

Guides for evaluating systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines:

See ACR's Clinical Practice Guidelines

Evidence-Based Programs

Learn about evidence-based programs that are proven to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Arthritis Program has created a list of recommended self-management education and physical activity programs.

Additional programs available:

For questions or comments, contact ARHP@rheumatology.org.

Reviewed May 2017 by ARHP Research Committee