Introduction: Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of patients” (Sackett et al, 1996). This concept of EBM extends the health information professional beyond “identification of literature to involvement in practicing and teaching quality filtering and critical appraisal of the literature” (Scherrer, 1999:324).
This definitely challenges the traditional role of the health information professional thus advocating for the need to acquire necessary skills, so as to be in a position to support EBM.
Objectives: To outline the steps in the EBM process; to explore the role of the health information professional in the EBM process; and to explore the challenges and opportunities that health information professionals encounter.
Methodology: The survey obtained views and experiences from health information professionals through an online discussion board during an online distance education course on “Evidence Based Medicine and the Medical Librarian.” A total of 20 participants from different countries participated in this course between January - March 2008. Participants responded to open ended questions and data was qualitatively analysed under the various open ended questions posed in relation to the role, challenges and opportunities of the health information professional in EBM.
Conclusion: The role of the health information professional is acknowledged as critical in supporting EBM. This paper strongly recommends the need for health information professionals to integrate EBM in their training sessions. This paper encourages and recommends the need for health information professionals to continuously acquire training in order to efficiently support EBM. This would result to the provision of better health information thus translating to better healthcare.
(2008). Evidence based medicine: the role of the health information professional.
Available at: http://ecommons.aku.edu/libraries/27