HealthJune 19, 2024

Excellence in evidence-based practice: The library as a catalyst in optimizing healthcare outcomes

It's time for healthcare organizations to recognize and harness the library's potential as a catalyst for evidence-based practice, innovation, and excellence in patient care.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is essential for ensuring high-quality patient care, operational efficiency, and optimal health outcomes. The incorporation of EBP into the day-to-day operations of healthcare settings requires not only access to high-quality, evidence-based resources but also an effective strategy for implementing this practice across various departments. This is where the role of the library, and by extension the librarian, becomes crucial. Libraries are not just repositories of knowledge; they are active engines driving the adoption and application of evidence-based practice in healthcare settings.

The challenge of silos and lack of standardization

One of the primary challenges in adopting EBP across healthcare institutions is the existence of workflow silos that hamper cross-departmental collaboration. The lack of standardized processes for EBP research exacerbates this issue, creating environments where efforts are duplicated and resources are not optimally utilized. Healthcare professionals, including those responsible for process improvement, guideline and protocol updates, and original clinical research, often find themselves pulled in many directions, trying to cater to both new students and advanced researchers. This disjointed approach can significantly impact the overall efficiency and effectiveness of EBP implementation within healthcare settings.

The library as the solution

Libraries, guided by the expertise of librarians, can play a pivotal role in overcoming these challenges. By fostering interdepartmental collaboration and promoting standardized practices for EBP research, libraries can become catalysts for enhancing patient care and improving organizational outcomes. As the Director of Library Services at Sentara Healthcare notes, "Engaging in evidence-based practice solutions can really have an impact on the bottom line within operations of the organization."

This impact is made possible through several key areas where libraries can contribute:

Fostering collaboration and value

Libraries can serve as central hubs for fostering interdepartmental collaboration, driving value not just for librarians but for the entire institution. By automatically analyzing research interests and actively engaging in evidence-based programs, libraries can facilitate a more streamlined workflow for process improvement and the updating of guidelines and protocols.

Streamlining workflows

The Ovid® Synthesis EBP workflow solution is an example of how libraries can support a more streamlined approach to process improvement, guideline, and protocol updates. By offering tools and resources designed to bridge the gap between evidence interpretation and practice implementation, libraries can eliminate guesswork and provide healthcare professionals and students with quick access to guidelines supported by systematic reviews of evidence.

"The librarian's role in supporting evidence-based practice through Ovid Synthesis has been invaluable." - Dr. Annie Rohan, Dean at Nursing & Allied Health at Fairleigh Dickinson University

Serving clinicians, patients, and students

Libraries equipped with evidence-based resources like the Evidence-based Health Collection and Evidence-based Medicine Reviews can serve the needs of practicing healthcare professionals, patients, and students. These resources meet today’s rigorous quality standards, ensuring that healthcare practices are grounded in reliable evidence to improve patient outcomes. By being integral in the development of policies and procedures, libraries ensure that best practices are not just recommended but implemented.

Beyond traditional roles

The traditional view of libraries as mere physical spaces housing books is long outdated. In the context of healthcare, libraries and librarians are dynamic participants in the quest for excellence in patient care. With software such as JBI PACES and JBI SUMARI, libraries are at the forefront of providing access to high-quality reviews and the largest register of controlled trials. Unlike some platforms that rely heavily on machine-curation, these resources include critical appraisals of reviews, ensuring healthcare professionals have access to the best available evidence.


The bridge between evidence-based research and its practical application in healthcare settings is fortified by the strategic involvement of libraries. By leveraging their resources, expertise, and technology, libraries are transforming into indispensable allies in the pursuit of optimized healthcare outcomes. Whether it's through fostering collaboration, streamlining workflows, or serving the direct needs of clinicians and patients, the library's role in advancing evidence-based practice is undeniably vital. It's time for healthcare organizations to recognize and harness the library's potential as a catalyst for change, innovation, and excellence in patient care.

For those looking to explore further or integrate EBP solutions in their institutions, learn more about the Ovid EBP Suite or contact [email protected] to request a demo as your first step towards bridging the gap between research and practice, ultimately driving better outcomes for all.

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