Integrating Research Into Clinical Practice: How & Why You Should Start Now

As many of you already know, and for others this may be your first time seeing this, the current APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) mission statement reads; “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.”

Have you ever taken a minute to consider what the phrase “optimizing movement” truly means? This is a statement we discussed while developing our platform and forming our purpose, as we believe it is the essence of what we are hoping to communicate to everyone. After multiple conversations, we came to the conclusion that “optimizing movement” is a product of ensuring evidence-based movement, which in itself is a product of remaining immersed in the latest research.

In today’s world, it is a fact that time will always be a barrier to remaining up-to-date with the current evidence. The idea of reading through a 10 page article and performing a literature appraisal for validation after a full day’s work does not bode too well with increased patient demands, productivity standards, and actually having a life (let’s be real now). Attempt that every day, for a few weeks, on top of all your other priorities and responsibilities and we are sure you will be burnt out before you know it. Nonetheless, if we are to be evidence-based practicing clinicians, staying immersed in the research is absolutely essential.
As you will recall, the three pillars of evidence-based practice include professional (or clinical) expertise, patient values and experiences, as well as BEST RESEARCH EVIDENCE.

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The question you may ask yourself is, “Well, how do I stay updated with the research despite my time constraints?” If so, that is where we hope to step in for the benefit of your patients, practice, as well as professional development. Each week we will take the time to dissect and repackage the latest available evidence into a format that is engaging and efficient for you to utilize at your convenience. It is as easy as a 2 minute read and 1 minute video per week, something that you can do on your lunch break or while you thumb through social media in your down time. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why is this important to me and/or why should I care?” Our response to you is; we ALL as Physical Therapists (and as healthcare providers) have a responsibility to constantly raise the standard of care for our patients. In fact, when looking at the APTA’s core values, various examples of staying immersed in the literature exist such as “assuming responsibility for learning and change”, “pursuing new evidence to expand one’s knowledge” and/or “engaging in the acquisition of knowledge throughout one’s professional career.”

At the end of the day, if we are to truly embrace being evidence-based practicing clinicians, the way we view research as a whole NEEDS to change NOW! As opposed to looking at the literature as antiquated and clunky (credit to our friend Dr. Teddy Willsey), we NEED to adopt the mindset that strives for lifelong learning. A mindset that attempts to gain new perspective and question existing paradigms to ultimately ensure that our patients are receiving the highest quality of care possible.

Opinions expressed by physiogramworld contributors are their own.

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