If you have found evidence that is valid, significant and generalizable from the study population to your patient, you must decide whether and how to apply the findings to your patient's care.
Applying the best evidence is arguably the Evidenced-Based Practice (EBP) step that requires the most skill. It is at this step that you synthesise the best scientific knowledge with your clinical expertise and the patient's unique values and circumstances to reach a clinical decision:
Before applying evidence from research to your patient, ask yourself:
Were the study patients similar to my population of interest - do the results apply to my patient?
Were all clinically important outcomes considered and are the results clinically important?
Are the likely treatment benefits worth the potential harm and costs?
Can this practice be implemented in this healthcare setting?
In addition to providing an overview of Evidence-Based Practice this article, at the section called "Clinical Decision-Making: Evidence is Never Enough", provides three patient scenarios that illustrate ways in which the application of evidence varies depending on a patient's values and circumstances.
1. Guyatt GH, Haynes R, Jaeschke RZ, et al. (2000). Users' guides to the dedical literature: XXV. Evidence-based dedicine: Principles for applying the Users' Guides to patient care. JAMA, 284, 290-1296. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.284.10.1290.